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Maharashtra: Setback for BJP in MLC polls

Updated on: 03 February,2023 06:50 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

Loss in Nagpur likely due to lack of support to an independent, change of stand on old pension scheme; defeated in Amravati, Aurangabad

Maharashtra: Setback for BJP in MLC polls

BJP’s Dnyaneshwar Mhatre (centre) after winning from Konkan seat. Pic/PTI

In the legislative council polls, the BJP suffered a setback, Congress-MVA-sponsored Sudhakar Adbole defeating the sitting MLC from the Nagpur teachers’ constituency—Nago Ganar (a BJP-supported independent)—by a big margin. This time, the people within the BJP disputed Ganar’s candidature; and the saffron party’s change of stance on the old pension scheme is reported to have impacted the result. The BJP, however, wrested the Konkan teachers’ seat from the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP)-MVA. 

The BJP, however, wrested the Konkan teachers’ seat from the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP)-MVA.

In the Amravati graduates’ segment, the BJP’s sitting member Dr Ranjeet Patil was trailing Dheeraj Lingade of the Congress-MVA. It turned out to be a cliffhanger because the gap was very thin, but continued to give the Congressman an edge. In the Nasik graduates’ segment, a Congress rebel, Satyajeet Tambe, was leading against Shiv Sena (UBT)-MVA’s Shubhangi Patil by a huge margin that appeared impossible to plug.

Supporters of BJP leader Dnyaneshwar Mhatre celebrate after he won from Konkan seat in the MLC elections, in Navi Mumbai, on Thursday. Pic/PTISupporters of BJP leader Dnyaneshwar Mhatre celebrate after he won from Konkan seat in the MLC elections, in Navi Mumbai, on Thursday. Pic/PTI

The elections to three teachers’ (Konkan, Nagpur and Aurangabad) and two graduates’ (Nasik and Amravati) constituencies were held in the last week of January. The preferential votes were counted on Thursday. Each segment is spread across multiple districts that constitute revenue divisions. The electoral colleges here aren’t as crowded as the Assembly segments because only eligible and registered individuals vote in these elections that have electoral rolls made afresh every six years. These elections are not fought on party symbols, but registered parties either set up their candidates or support stronger ones in the field. Like other upper house elections, the polling is preferential and counting is a complex and time-consuming process.

Also Read: Maharashtra BJP to field its own candidate for MLC polls to Konkan teachers' constituency

The NCP-MVA’s sitting member, Vikram Kale, retained his winning position very comfortably in the Aurangabad teachers’ constituency. He beat BJP’s Kiran Patil.

BJP’s loss and gain        

In what can be called a compensation for a stunner in Nagpur, BJP’s Dyaneshwar Mhatre recorded a big win over PWP’s sitting MLC Balaram Patil from the Konkan teachers’ segment. Trends in Amravati indicated another upset for the BJP. Dr Patil, former minister of state for home, wasn’t able to break Lingade’s lead till the time mid-day went to print. 

The Congress claimed the Nagpur seat after 12 years amid turmoil in its rank and file. The rebellion in Nasik, the last-minute selection of Amravati candidate and internal skirmish in the Nagpur unit overshadowed its campaign. Yet, the party scraped through with much-needed support from the MVA partners and teachers’ associations in the Nagpur division.

This is the second such success of the Congress in Nagpur in two years. In December 2020, its candidate Abhijeet Wanjari won the Nagpur graduates’ constituency where the BJP held fort for 58 years. This time, the people within the BJP and the party-sponsored teachers’ associations disputed Ganar’s candidature. The BJP-Shinde Sena government’s initial announcement against reviving the old pension scheme, which was backtracked during the campaign, is reported to have impacted the result. However, the observation didn’t support the argument in the Konkan teachers’ segment where the BJP-supported nominee won handsomely.

In Nasik, Satyajeet Tambe could have officially added to the Congress’s tally in the upper house, but he chose to be an independent after his father, a sitting MLC, refused to be the party’s official candidate. The father did not file his papers, but pushed the son upfront. The Congress suspended the Tambes, who tacitly sought the BJP’s support, which apparently came their way.

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