NCP poorer by 3 seats, but remains single-largest party

CM Devendra Fadnavis gets his choices elected in the legislative council biennial elections; Sena and Congress too gain

CM Devendra Fadnavis’s close associate Parinay Fuke after defeating NCP’s Rajendra Jain in the biennial elections to the legislative council
CM Devendra Fadnavis’s close associate Parinay Fuke after defeating NCP’s Rajendra Jain in the biennial elections to the legislative council

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) failed to retain three seats in the biennial elections to the legislative council yesterday. The ruling BJP and Shiv Sena, as well as the Congress added a seat each to their kitty.

The highlight of the polls was victory of CM Devendra Fadnavis’s close aide Parinay Fuke (220), who was sent to Gondia-Bhandara, where the NCP had a sitting MLC. Fuke, a sitting corporator in Nagpur, was asked to contest in an unknown segment, where the fight had become a point of prestige for the CM and the BJP.

Resounding losses
BJP’s win in Gondia is also seen as a defeat of NCP biggie Praful Patel, with his close associate and sitting MLC Rajendra Jain (137) losing by a significant margin. Congress’s Praful Agarwal, son of local MLA Gopaldas Agarwal, finished third with 112 votes.

The NCP also suffered a shock in Sangli-Satara, where younger brother of senior Congress leader and ex-minister Patangrao Kadam, Mohan (309), defeated the former’s Shekhar Gore (246).

In Yavatmal, the NCP pulled out in a dramatic fashion, making Sandeep Barojia, who had filed as an independent, to withdraw from the race. The move resulted in Sena’s sugar baron from Osmanabad Tanaji Sawant comprehensively beating Congress’s Shankar Bade.

Denying ticket to local aspirants, the Sena had specially summoned Sawant to contest from Yavatmal.

However, the NCP retained Pune, where Anil Bhosale (440) registered a thumping victory over BJP’s Ashok Yenpure (133). The Congress finished a poor third here.

The winners
The ruling BJP retained Jalgaon, where a wealthy contractor, Chandu Patel (421), won by a huge margin against seven independents, of which Vijay Patil got 90 votes, one got a single vote, and the rest five did not open their account.

The triumph in Jalgaon is seen as an upset for tainted ex-minister Eknath Khadse, whose close associate Gurumukh Jagwani was denied ticket for accommodating the CM as well as Khadse’s intra-party rival Girish Mahajan’s candidate, Chandu Patel.

In Nanded, Congress’s Amar Rajurkar (251), ex-CM Ashok Chavan’s friend, was re-elected in a straight fight against ex-IAS officer and independent Shyamsundar Shinde (208).

State Congress president Ashok Chavan blamed the NCP for ruling out an alliance with his party. “Together, we would have won more seats. The NCP chose to support fundamentalists (the BJP and Sena),” he said. He congratulated party workers for adding a seat in the Upper House.

In spite of these losses, the NCP will continue to be the single-largest party in the 78-seat legislative council, with 23 members. It also has its chairman. The Congress is second with 20 members and the BJP (17) is much short of a majority.

For rich & mighty
The polls were held last week. Members of municipal councils, panchayats and zilla parishads voted in the elections. Such biennial elections are pursued as a fiefdom of wealthy candidates who have resources for horse-trading and forming tacit alliances.

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