While today is the last day of filing nominations for the state assembly elections, poaching of candidates and rebellions have caused an unprecedented delay in the announcement of candidates, except in the Congress and MNS.
Congress had announced its first list of 118 candidates late on Wednesday night; MNS had put out its own list of 153 candidates on Thursday. Shiv Sena, NCP and the BJP are being careful with their lists, to avoid rebellions and defections.
Continuing the exodus in NCP, in a major embarrassment, Uday Samant, minister of state for urban development in the Prithviraj Chavan-led government, joined the Shiv Sena on Friday. His move stunned the NCP as he collected the AB form to submit it along with his nomination papers. He was elected from the Ratnagiri assembly seat in 2009.
Similarly, there were reports of NCP’s Mumbai unit chief, Sanjay Dina Patil, rebelling and joining the Shiv Sena, and of his visit to Matoshree, the Bandra (East) residence of Uddhav Thackeray. The NCP was trying its best to retain him.
BJP and Shiv Sena, erstwhile friends, are also keeping a close watch on budding opportunists in their own camps. Mulund MLA Sardar Tara Singh’s visit to Matoshree has shocked the BJP. Congress, too, is witnessing exits on the eve of polling — one of its MLAs, Dr Namdeo Usendi, has decided to join BJP. Ex-MLA Madan Bhosle, son of senior Congress leader Prataprao Bhosle, has also decided to join the BJP, sources said.