BJP and Shiv Sena brace for bruised egos
Eknath Khadse, who has filed his nomination, told to field his daughter Rohini instead; minister's brother opposes candidature to chief minister's aide; Shiv Sena, Congress also facing the heat
Aspirants from major parties are suffering serious heartburn over being denied official candidature. The BJP and Shiv Sena have been facing the brunt ever since their first list was announced. Protests were staged in places like Latur, where a senior BJP minister's kin organised a road blockade to protest the candidature of the chief minister's personal assistant.
Leaders who were denied tickets are now lobbying to change the candidature, while those who did not find their names on the list are trying to get an official nod. Field you daughter, Khadse told Of the dissidents, senior leader Eknath Khadse, who had quit the BJP cabinet because of corruption allegations, filed his nomination on Tuesday, without waiting for an official nomination. He expected the party to retain him from Muktainagar in Jalgaon district, but the party has told him to field his daughter Rohini instead.
It would be interesting to see whether the father stays in the fray and takes on the BJP as an independent. Ever since he was told to quit, the leader has been unhappy as he was not rehabilitated, and has been consistently ignored in party policy matters.
"If being loyal to the party is a crime, then I'm a criminal," said Khadse, whose supporters blocked the Nashik highway for an hour on Wednesday. Senior minister Vinod Tawde, who did not feature in the first list, pleaded his case with state BJP president Chandrakant Patil, who himself is facing opposition in Pune's Kothrud constituency. Ex-minister Prakash Mehta and MLA Raj Purohit were worried about their candidature.
Latur erupts in protest
Discipline in the BJP was at stake in Latur where minister Sambhaji Nilangekar's brother Arvind (who also wanted a ticket), along with Sena leaders from Ausa led a protest demanding that Abhimanyu Pawar, the CM's personal assistant, be replaced. The segment has gone to the BJP in the exchange of seats. Sena's ex-MLA Dinkar Mane and Ausa City Congress president Kiran Utge are interested in contesting. The agitation caused huge inconvenience to commuters as the highway was blocked for three hours.
Nilangekar, who is reported to have extended tacit support to the protesters, downplayed the event, saying that he was not opposed to anyone, but would certainly pass on the message to the party high command. Pawar dismissed allegations of being an outsider. "I was born in the constituency and have worked hard for the development of the people here in the past five years. My victory is certain and I'm not going to buckle under pressure," he said.
In Latur's Udgir constituency, incumbent MLA Sudhakar Bhalerao's supporters demanded the legislator's reinstatement. They confronted Chandrakant Patil on Wednesday. The Sena, which got a better a deal in Mumbai and Thane, but has not been given a single seat in major urban centres of Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Navi Mumbai, faced unrest within the rank and file. Several leaders from these segments are prepared to rebel against the BJP candidates or switch over to other parties.
In Navi Mumbai, about 200 Sena workers have resigned. In Sinnar (Nashik), Sena's Manik Kokate switched over to the NCP after being denied a ticket. In Kalyan, where a sitting BJP legislator was dropped for the Sena, things will not be easy for an alliance candidate. In Mumbai's Magathane, BJP supporters are not happy about the Sena contesting, but Praveen Darekar, who wanted a ticket here, is unlikely to rebel.
Unrest in Nagpur
South Nagpur's sitting MLA Sudhakar Kohale, who was dropped to make way for Mohan Mate, approached union minister Nitin Gadkari. "This is an injustice to me. I have worked hard, yet the party has ignored me," he said, adding that Gadkari has assured him a resolution. Mate justified Kohale's demand. "It is but natural for a person who is denied a ticket. It is the party's decision. I will try my best to convince my party colleague [Kohale]," he said.
In Yavatmal's Arni-Kelapur, sitting MLA Raju Todsam (BJP) has decided to rebel against the party's new candidate Dr Sandeep Dhurve, who was once a legislator from the district.
In the Congress camp, Nagpur South segment became a reason for state spokesperson Atul Londhe's supporters to agitate. They said it was unfair that Girish Pandav was preferred over Londhe, who left the decision to the party leadership. "I can understand the situation, but convincing my supporters is difficult because they know my work and dedication. I'm not sure whether my supporters will campaign for the party's official candidate," he said.
In Wardha's Deoli-Pulgaon segment, where the Sena has fielded an import from NCP, Sameer Deshmukh, an RSS loyalist, Rajesh Bakane, who also heads Wardha District BJP's unit, has decided to contest as a rebel. In neighbouring Hinganghat, Sena's ex-MLA Ashok Shinde will fight BJP's incumbent lawmaker Sameer Kunawar.
Naik family finds a solution
Navi Mumbai's Belapur seat has been given to Manda Mhatre, leaving BJP's new entrant Ganesh Naik high and dry, while his son Sandeep was allotted Airoli. The son has decided to withdraw from the race leaving the seat for the father.
Khadse, Tawde not on second list either
The BJP's second list of 14 that was release late last night did not have the names of Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde, Raj Purohit and Prakash Mehta on it. However, Ambarish Raje Atram was repeated from the tribal Aheri in Gadchiroli despite being dropped from the ministry for poor performance. Turncoats Gopaldas Agrawal (Gondia), Namita Mundada (Kaij) and Gopichand Padalkar (Baramati) were cleared. Shailesh Lahoti will be pitted against Amit Deshmukh from Latur City. Kumar Ailani was given a ticket from Ulhasnagar.
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