Maharashtra by-elections: CM Shinde asks Sharad Pawar to withdraw candidates

The Chinchwad and Kasba Peth state assembly seats elections are necessitated after the deaths of BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap and Mukta Tilak respectively.
Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde. (Photo | PTI)
Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde. (Photo | PTI)

MUMBAI: Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde dialled NCP chief Sharad Pawar and other Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders requesting them not to field candidates in the state bypolls in Chinchwad and Kasba Peth.

Chinchwad and Kasba Peth assembly bypolls were necessitated after the demise of incumbent BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap and Mukta Tilak respectively. The BJP has announced its candidate for both seats. Ashwini Jagtap, widow of Laxman Jagtap, will contest from Chinchwad, while Hemant Rasane will contest from Kasba Peth.

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde said that it is the culture of Maharashtra not to field candidates if by-elections are necessitated after the demise of a sitting MLA.

“We always support the deceased family members to get elected. We expect the same in both constituencies. Therefore, I called NCP chief Sharad Pawar and other Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders urging them to respect state culture and pave the way for BMC candidates,” Shinde said.

Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), an alliance of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, has so far not declared its candidates for the by-elections.

However, Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) leader, said that while it is true that the ruling party has requested their support, it was already decided in an MVA meeting to contest both by-elections. He also said the ruling party should not teach them about morality.

“In Andheri East elections, how the BJP and the ruling party (Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde) troubled deceased Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke’s widow Rutuja Latke. The BJP tried to block her candidature by all means but they failed. They were forced to withdraw their candidate at the eleventh hour after seeing their defeat,” Raut said.

In the MVA meeting, it was also decided that the Kasba Peth seat will be contested by the Congress while NCP will contest the Chinchwad seat

Sources said that Ravindra Dhangekar would be announced as the candidate from Congress for the Kasba Peth seat. “The Brahmins of Kasba Peth are not happy with the BJP for announcing Hemant Rasane’s candidature. We were expecting someone either from the Mukta Tilak family or any Brahmin face but the BJP announced a non-Brahmin person (Hemant Rasane)," a senior BJP leader from Pune said.

Kasba Peth is the Brahamin voters' traditional constituency of the BJP, the leader said. "Earlier, Girish Bapat and then Mukta Tilak was elected. The BJP is not giving justice to our community. We are taken for granted. Earlier, Medha Kulkarni was denied a ticket to accommodate Chandrakant Patil in Kothrud, now Rasane in place of Ms Tilak. This is not a good sign, the party may face the community's wrath in the byelections,” he added.

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