Mumbai: Shiv Sena, BJP to battle for Thane guardian minister position
Will it be Eknath Shinde's turn again, or will BJP's senior minister Ganesh Naik edge him out?
Who will be the guardian minister of Thane? It promises to be a tough competition. BJP's senior politicians—Ganesh Naik has past experience as guardian minister, Ravindra Chavhan was already serving as minister of IT, Medical, Education and Consumer Protection, and Kisan Kathore has won the election with more votes than any other candidate in the region. Since BJP candidates are plenty in this district, will Shiv Sena lose their ex-guardian minister, Eknath Shinde's post this time?
While Eknath Shinde won, his vote share reduced from the last election. He won against Congress candidate Sanjay Ghadigaonkar by 24,197 votes, and has been elected consecutively for three terms in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly. He was appointed as a Cabinet Minister of PWD in the Maharashtra government, and became guardian minister of the Thane area.
On the other hand, Naik is the most senior politician and began his career in 1990. He was an MLA in Belapur when he was in the NCP. He was guardian minister of Thane district, but lost the elections of 2014. Kisan Kathore became MLA for the fourth time with the highest votes in Thane district. He contested the 2004 Maharashtra Legislative Assembly election from Ambernath as an NCP candidate. Later, he started contesting from the Murbad constituency and in the 2014 assembly elections, he switched to BJP and won again for a third term from Murbad. Dombivli's Ravindra Chavhan won with 86,227 votes against MNS's Mandar Halve. He was elected in 2009 and has won all elections since then. Currently, Chavhan is the Minister of State for Ports, Medical Education, Information and Technology, Food and Civil supplies, and Consumer Protection.
Political analyst Milind Ballal, editor of a local daily in Thane, said, "This will be one of the toughest fights in Thane district. Four of the candidates are most eligible to become minister. If we consider the seniority of Ganesh Naik, and his experience, then BJP must have already assured him the seat. Kathore and Shinde might be sacrificed in favour of him. It is in the mood for strong bargaining and they may get success in that. In fact, Shinde, who likes to rule Thane, will not leave this seat easily. Chavhan is also eligible for the post, but again Kathore deserves it. However, as he contested from a rural area, he may not get a chance, and that's unfair. He may get an assurance for the next time."
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BJP and Shiv Sena's battle for Maharashtra's CM post continues