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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Maharashtra Assembly Election 2019: Sena, BJP face challenge from rebels contesting against party candidates

Rebels from both the BJP and the Shiv Sena are in the fray against the official candidates of the alliance in Nashik, Konkan, Solapur, Marathwada and Pune in the October 21 Maharashtra assembly election.

assembly-elections Updated: Oct 11, 2019 08:38 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UP chief  minister Yogi Adityanath addressed an election rally  at Kandivali (E) in Mumbai, on Thursday, October 10, 2019.
UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath addressed an election rally at Kandivali (E) in Mumbai, on Thursday, October 10, 2019. (Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)
         

While the Shiv Sena accepted fewer seats than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to forge an alliance, all’s not well on ground zero. Rebels from both the parties are in the fray against the official candidates of the alliance in Nashik, Konkan, Solapur, Marathwada and Pune. The internal rebellion could impact the poll prospects, in some cases, giving an edge to the opposition.

For instance, in Sindhudurg district of Konkan, the Sena and BJP are indirectly claiming that there will be friendly contests in all three constituencies. The alliance here went awry after the BJP gave a ticket to former chief minister Narayan Rane’s son and incumbent legislator Nitesh from Kankavli. The Sena has put up an official candidate, Satish Sawant, against Nitesh Rane from Kankavli, effectively contesting against the BJP. Rane, a former Sena leader, shares a bitter relation with the Thackerays.

In retaliation, close associates of Narayan Rane have been fielded as independents against Sena candidates in the neighbouring Kudal and Sawantwadi. These independents are now backed by the BJP.

Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg MP Vinayak Raut said, “Our fight is not against the BJP, but the Ranes. We had already told the BJP leadership not to give ticket to anyone from the Rane family. We would have worked for any other candidate but him.”

According to Sena MP Rajan Teli, a close associate of Rane is being supported by the BJP in Sawantwadi. Sena’s Deepak Kesarkar is fielded from Sawantwadi. In Kudal, where Sena’s sitting MLA Vaibhav Naik is fielded, Ranjeet Desai, who is considered close to Rane, is getting BJP support.

Pramod Jathar, the district head of the BJP in Sindhudurg, said the district is poised for a close contest. “In Maharashtra, we have an alliance, but here we will have a friendly fight,” he said.

Besides, Konkan, Mumbai has two such rebellions. In Versova, Sena rebel Rajul Patel is contesting against BJP’s candidate and sitting legislator Bharati Lavekar. In Andheri East, BJP corporator Murji Patel has filed as an independent against Sena’s Ramesh Latke. BJP’s sitting legislator from Kalyan West, Narendra Pawar, is upset that his seat went to the Sena in the deal, and is contesting as an independent against Sena candidate Vishwanath Bhoir.

In Nashik West, BJP’s Seema Hiray is facing a Sena rebel, Vilas Shinde, who was hoping for the ticket, but was upset that none of the seats in Nashik went to the Sena.

While both the parties have taken action against some rebels, they are also seen to be tacitly supporting rebels in some seats.

On Thursday, the BJP suspended four rebel candidates from the party, including Charan Waghmare, Geeta Jain, Balasaheb Awhale and Dilip Deshmukh.

“There is still confusion over the contours of poll battle in every constituency, given the internal rebellion within the party or alliance. The rebellion within the saffron parties can potentially upset their poll prospects or give an edge to the opposition,” said Nitin Birmal, a political analyst.

First Published: Oct 11, 2019 00:30 IST

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