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Maha council bypoll win: BJP proves its strength in Assembly

At least 9 Opposition MLAs reportedly cross-voted, as the expected number of votes was more than 85.

mumbai Updated: Dec 07, 2017 23:51 IST
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis arrives for the state legislative by-poll on Thursday morning.(HT Photo)

State BJP vice-president and industrialist Prasad Lad defeated Congress’ Dilip Mane to win the by-election to a legislative council seat with 209 votes on Thursday.

Mane won 73 votes of the 284 votes polled. At least 9 Opposition MLAs reportedly cross-voted, as the expected number of votes was more than 85. Significantly, the BJP candidate got 146 votes, apart from Sena’s 63 from among 288 members of the Assembly.

The feat does not only mean a victory to the BJP, but the party has also proved its claim of support from “invisible hands” to keep the government afloat without the assistance of Sena MLAs.

The BJP secured 146 votes, which is more than the halfway mark required to prove a majority in case of a no-confidence motion against the government.

By winning the seat, which was earlier with the Congress, the BJP has taken a step ahead in its aim of gaining majority in the upper house. The number of BJP members in the legislative council has reached 18, against the NCP’s 23, followed by Congress, which is at 19. By winning a maximum of 21 seats falling vacant in June-July next year, with the help of majority in the legislative Assembly and the local bodies, whose members elect the members to the council, the ruling party is set target to achieve a majority.

Prasad Lad said it was the result of CM Devendra Fadnavis’s magical skills. “At least 15 members from the Opposition voted for me.” The seat was vacated by former Congress leader Narayan Rane, who resigned from the party and the upper house in September. Chhagan Bhujbal of NCP could not vote as he is imprisoned in graft case, while minister of state for animal husbandry and Sena leader Arjun Khotkar was ineligible as his election has been annulled by the court. Two votes were declared invalid for wrong marking, while 2 AIMIM members boycotted the election.

Nitesh, Congress MLA and younger son of Narayan Rane, and NCP MLA Ramesh Kadam, who is imprisoned in a case of financial misappropriation, did not vote for Congress’ Mane. “Narayan Rane has his own political outfit called Maharashtra Swabhimani Paksha and I am his activist,” said Nitesh.

Kadam, who was escorted by the police, said that he voted for a BJP candidate as he was jailed for doing nothing. The Congress was expecting at least 87 votes as besides its own 42 MLAs, their candidate was supported by NCP’s 40, one each of Samajwadi Party and Communist Party of India (M) and Peasant and Workers Party’s 3 MLAs. “Even the tally of Congress and NCP makes to 83 votes, against which Mane got 73. If we leave out Bhujbal’s vote, the party has got nine votes fewer than expected,” a Congress leader said.

Congress group leader in the upper house Sharad Ranpise, told HT, “It is true that all our MLAs have not voted for the alliance candidate. We will soon hold a meeting to discuss this.”

First Published: Dec 07, 2017 12:06 IST