MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena holds the key to Maharashtra legislative council by-polls scheduled for December 7, as the Congress claimed a tacit support from the Shiv Sena, while the BJP fielded an ‘imported’ candidate hoping for the Shiv Sena support here on Monday.
Several ‘invisible arrows’ would hit the target on December 7 and you’ll see a miracle in the legislative council by-poll,” said Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan while referring to Shiv Sena’s party symbol bow and arrow.
Chavan also termed his party candidate for the by-poll Dilip Mane as the consensus candidate of all opposition and expressed a confidence that he would be able to garner support even from the Shiv Sena.
“The Shiv Sena had been highly critical of the state government over several issues like the loan waiver and assured prices for the agro-produce. Their party chief had once again threatened to quit the government just about a couple of days back. Looking at these political facts I’m confident that Mane would be able to win the by-election,” Chavan said after Mane filed his nomination.
The Shiv Sena had opposed candidature of former chief minister Narayan Rane, who is the new member of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Maharashtra. The party was so insistent on its anti-Rane stance that it announced that it would vote in favour of opposition candidate if Rane contests the by-polls as an NDA candidate for the seat vacated by him while quitting the Congress.
While the Shiv Sena’s stand was received with cheers in the opposition camp, the BJP started disaster management efforts and decided to field some other candidate in the by-poll in a bid to keep Shiv Sena on its side. Former NCP leader and former Chairman of MHADA repairs board Prasad Lad’s name was finalised last night at a late night meeting of senior BJP leaders at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ official residence Varsha. Senior Shiv Sena minister Eknath Shinde, Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu and Uddthav Thackeray’s political advisor Milind Narvekar were present along with other BJP leaders at Lad filed his nomination on Monday.
Lad, who is currently member of the Siddhivinayak Temple trust, had switched over to the BJP just ahead of assembly polls in 2014. He runs a business of security agencies and is considered to be a strong candidate who can pull several votes if needed. Mane, on the other hand, is a close confident of former union minister Sushilkumar Shinde. He was MLA from Solapur between 2009 and 2014 and had also headed district cooperative bank and the APMC for quite a long time in the past.
The BJP has its own 124 in the 288-member legislative assembly, while the Shiv Sena had 63, Congress 42 and the NCP 41. The BJP also claims a support of 14 members from smaller parties and independents. If Shiv Sena votes in favour of the BJP candidate as promised, Lad’s victory is sure. However, Chavan’s claim of ‘invisible arrows’ has brought the life back to the election.Congress hopeful of tacit support from Shiv Sena in Maharashtra legislative council by-poll.