BJP quits Andheri East bypoll race, Uddhav to gain

With this, the stage is set for a virtual uncontested election of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb  Thackeray) party nominee Rutuja Ramesh Latke from Andheri East.

Published: 17th October 2022 07:18 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2022 06:59 AM   |  A+A-

Rutuja Latke

Rutuja Latke, candidate of 'Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray' party for the Andheri (east) bypoll. She is poised to get elected unopposed. (Photo | Rutuja Latke Twitter)

Express News Service

MUMBAI:  The BJP had to take the bitter pill by withdrawing from the Andheri East Assembly by-election, making it easy for Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena candidate Rutuja Latke to win unopposed. The BJP’s sudden decision on Monday was aimed at “keeping the party’s long-term interest in mind.” But the thought process that went into it exposed the simmering differences over the move.

Things became a bit complicated on Sunday for the BJP after MNS chief Raj Thackeray wrote to BJP’s Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis requesting him to facilitate the “unopposed” election of Rutuja, citing the state culture and tradition. NCP’s Sharad Pawar, too, went with Raj’s decision.

The emerging situation appeared as if the BJP was pitted against all major Maharashtra-centric parties. The BJP had to weigh in strong views of Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar for a contest for the by-election. However, senior leaders led by Fadnavis were against it because a loss would have impacted the party’s fortunes in the prestigious BMC elections.

Sources said after a series of meetings, Shelar-supported Murji Patel opted out of the race. “Giving up one MLA is not a big deal. Therefore, Shelar was overruled at the eleventh hour,” said a BJP source. Fadnavis met Shelar late Sunday night. On Monday, state BJP in-charge TC Ravi spoke to Shelar before taking the call. 



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