BJP-Shiv Sena nominates 195 candidates; next list today
BJP includes powerful turncoats, misses out prominent names; Sena fields some new entrants
A day after the BJP and Shiv Sena announced a pre-poll pact, the parties nominated 195 candidates for the October 21 Assembly elections. While declaring 125 candidates, the BJP dropped 12 sitting MLAs and retained 52 law makers from the current House. Sena gave out 70 names, including most sitting MLAs. BJP's first list, which clearly has the chief minister's stamp, has 12 women nominees and some powerful turncoats, but has missed some prominent names. Minister of state Dilip Kamble has been dropped, but his brother is in the fray. Senior ministers Vinod Tawde and Chandrashekhar Bawankule have not made it to the first list. Neither has former minister Prakash Mehta and estranged leader Eknath Khadse. Mulund's veteran MLA Tara Singh has not been included due to age factor, but Speaker Haribhua Bagde, who is in the same age bracket, has been retained. State BJP president Chandrakant Patil replaced Kothrud's sitting MLA Medha Kulkarni. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his cabinet colleagues Pankaja Munde, Girish Mahajan, Jaikumar Rawal, Babanraao Lonikar and others have been posted in their existing segments. The next list is expected today.
Poll battle starts
The declaration clarified doubts regarding sharing of seats and made contests, mostly in Mumbai, clear because allies Congress and NCP have already declared several names from their respective ranks. Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, which plans to contest all 288 seats, would turn the fight into a multi-corner one. Rebellion within the ranks of all parties is expected in places where strong aspirants have been denied tickets. As reported by mid-day on October 1, the Sena got 124 seats and the BJP 146. If BJP's smaller allies were considered, then the party's quota would be 164 in the 288-seat Assembly. The smaller allies are expected to get 18 seats but BJP insiders said that they might not get that much. "If they (allies) are to get their promised share, then, they will be asked to fight on BJP's election symbol. Some allies have agreed to this," said a senior BJP leader. The sons and daughters of senior BJP leaders, who were first elected in 2014 and before, were given yet another opportunity. Some fathers whose wards were elected to Lok Sabha on BJP tickets – Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil (imported from Congress recently) and Dr Vijaykumar Gavit (imported from NCP in 2014) were fielded from their traditional strongholds.
The CM has ensured that some MLAs, who were cautioned in advance for their poor performance, were dropped unceremoniously. He also ensured that some of his close associates were included. His personal assistant Abhimanyu Pawar has been fielded from Ausa in Latur district. His close friend and ex-MLA, Mohan Mate has been accommodated by dropping sitting MLA and chief of Nagpur City BJP unit, Sudhakar Kohale. He got BJP's youth leader and a serving bureaucrat's wife, Sneha Mahale into the electoral field in western Vidarbha. He retained Manda Mhatre in Belapur when Ganesh Naik, who joined the BJP last month, was tipped to be a nominee there. However, he did not upset the Naik family much by giving away a Kalyan seat to Sena for fielding Ganesh's son Sandeep. In Marathwada, the BJP dropped a sitting MLA to make way for a turncoat. Fadnavis and Sena president Uddhav Thackeray seemed to have shown a great deal of understanding not only while exchanging seats but also in choosing the turncoats who fitted their respective parties' electoral plans. For instance, Nirmala Gavit (Igatpuri) defected to the Sena from Congress, while her brother Bharat (Navapur) joined the BJP. Former NCP legislator and Ajit Pawar's close relative Rana Jagjit Singh (now in BJP) was shifted to Tuljapur from Osmanabad for preventing clashes between the Sena and BJP. Ex-Congressman Harvardhan Patil will contest on BJP's ticket from Indapur in Pune district.
While Sena fielded some new entrants, it surprised a defector from NCP and sitting MLA from Srivardhan, Avdhoot Tatkare by taking a loyalist and Mumbai's ex-MLA Vinod Ghosalkar, who had lost the 2014 election from Dahisar, which now has gone to BJP's sitting MLA Manisha Chaudhary. Likewise 2014, Shiv Sangram Party would be contesting on BJP's symbol from Versova. Either sitting MLA Bharti Lavekar or party chief Vinayak Mete are expected to contest. BJP hasn't decided on Malad segment yet though it has announced almost all of the Mumbai candidates.
A rebellious Eknath Khadse, who wasn't included in the BJP's first list, filed his nomination from Muktainagar in Jalgaon. He said that he expected the party to nominate him. "I'm an honest party worker. I have worked for the BJP for 45 years," he said, after filing the papers.
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Maharashtra Assembly Elections 2019: All you need to know!