Home » Khadse could be BJP’s real target, suspect MVA strategists | Mumbai news

Khadse could be BJP’s real target, suspect MVA strategists | Mumbai news

Khadse could be BJP’s real target, suspect MVA strategists | Mumbai news


Mumbai Mumbai While the battle for the 10th seat to the legislative council seems to be between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress, the strategists in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) camp suspect that the BJP’s target could be Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) nominee Eknath Khadse, who has been a vocal critic of BJP, particularly opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis.

“BJP can try and target Khadse considering his animosity with the opposition leader. Some of the NCP MLAs or those supporting us may be convinced not to vote for him. This may create an issue as the party is already short of one vote if the quota of 26 votes for each of the candidates — Khadse and Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, is determined,” said an NCP leader on the condition of anonymity.

Khadse, once a revenue minister in the then BJP-Sena government, had to resign following allegations of misuse of office and later quit the BJP.

Khadse is one of the two candidates fielded by the ruling party in the poll as a total of 11 candidates are in the fray for the election today.

Khadse has been at loggerheads with Fadnavis ever since he stepped down as minister as he blamed the former chief minister for being sidelined in the party.

The NCP leader further said that considering the results of the last poll, the party will try to get two votes extra for each of its candidates to ensure their victory, which means the party will have to manage five extra votes.

“It also means the contest is really close and if BJP could manage three to four NCP or NCP supporter MLAs to cross-vote, then the equation can change,” he said while referring to the secret ballot system.

NCP chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase alleged that the BJP is trying to poach MVA MLAs, but they have managed to keep their flock together. “BJP is trying to settle scores with NCP and are forcing MLAs not to vote for our candidates, but NCP is geared up and is confident that both our candidates will get elected,” Tapase said. He further added that BJP is worried because Khadse is vocal against Fadnavis.

Shedding a light on the dilemma MVA allies are facing, a BJP leader said, “Going by the current strength, all the three ruling parties (Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress) have limited votes. Except Shiv Sena, both NCP and Congress require additional votes to get their candidates elected. Sena is already upset with the Rajya Sabha poll result and is in no mood to share its surplus votes. Instead, the party has made it absolutely clear that individual parties should undertake the task of arranging surplus votes for their nominees.”

“A whip has been issued by the party directing all legislators to vote for the Shiv Sena candidates. As we want to secure our people, the legislators will give their first [preference] votes for our candidates,” said a Shiv Sena functionary involved in the floor management and planning.

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At present, NCP has 51 votes as two of its MLAs — Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik — have failed to get permission from the Bombay High Court to cast their votes in the elections and it lost the Pandharpur assembly seat to the BJP’s Samadhan Autade in May last year.

NCP is also banking on three MLAs — Sanjay Mama Shinde (independent), Shyamsunder Shinde (PWP) and Devendra Bhuyar (Swabhimani Paksha).

“It is difficult for the BJP to know which of our MLAs will be giving first preference votes to Khadse because going by the current strength, we have to divide an equal number of our votes between Khadse and Nimbalkar. The MLAs are going to be informed about their first preference and second preference votes by election-day morning,” said a NCP insider privy to the development.

Shiv Sena had to face a shocking defeat on June 10 after one of its nominees Sanjay Pawar was trounced by the BJP’s Dhananjay Mahadik. Following a complaint from BJP, the Election Commission of India also termed Sena MLA Suhas Kande’s vote as invalid.

Shiv Sena has 55 MLA as one of its MLA Ramesh Latke died last month. NCP has 51 and Congress has 44 seats and all the three parties have fielded two candidates each. Shiv Sena has nominated Sachin Ahir and Amshya Padvi and Congress has fielded Bhai Jagtap and Chandrakant Handore besides Nimbalkar and Khadse are the NCP’s nominees.

Meanwhile, Madhav Bhandari, vice president of the Maharashtra BJP unit, said that if Khadse loses, then it will be the NCP’s decision. “NCP will itself try to defeat Khadse and not the BJP because they will have to fulfil all the commitments they would have made to him (Eknath Khadse) at the time of induction in the party. If Khadse is defeated, then it means that the NCP is trying to show that they have fulfilled their commitment, because the party has enough votes to get both of its candidates elected.”


    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.
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