Ex-Congress minister joins BJP, gets Palghar Lok Sabha nomination

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Mumbai, May 8 (IANS) “Come what may, we will win,” said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis after former Congress minister Rajendra Gavit was announced as the BJP candidate for the Palghar Lok Sabha constituency on Tuesday.

A former minister and legislator from Palghar Assembly constituency, Gavit quit the Congress and formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday and was rewarded with the party nomination by state BJP President Raosaheb Patil-Danve and Fadnavis.

Virtually accusing ally Shiv Sena of back-stabbing, Fadnavis said the BJP was on the verge of finalizing the name of a family member of the sitting party MP, Chintamani Vanga, who died on January 30.

“However, the Vanga family had no faith in us. They have been misguided by some elements and we know who they are. We still appeal to the Shiv Sena to support the BJP candidate in Palghar just as we supported them always in the past,” Fadnavis said.

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“Come what may, we shall win Palghar seat. This was the BJP seat. What the Shiv Sena has done is wrong. Winning it would be a fitting tribute to the late Chintaman Vanga,” Fadnavis told a media conference here.

Gavit’s entry to the BJP came hours after the Shiv Sena’s massive show of strength in Palghar in support of its candidate, Srinivas Vanga, the late MP’s son who filled his nomination papers for the Lok Sabha election of May 28.

Accusing the BJP of ignoring them after the death of Chintaman Vanga, the entire Vanga family shocked the BJP by joining the Shiv Sena last week though Fadnavis and other top leaders made frantic attempts to wean them back to the party fold.

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Patil-Danve claimed that all the voters of Palghar, party activists, legislators, civic leaders and others supporters were still with BJP, hinting that the Vanga family had left in virtual isolation.

Contrary to intense political speculation, the BJP decided to field Gavit – a rank newcomer to the party fold from the Congress – for the crucial Palghar reserved constituency, around 100 km north of Mumbai.

In a sharp reaction, Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan said Gavit had already lost two elections in the past.

“The BJP is accusing the Shiv Sena of wrongdoing by fielding ex-MP Chintaman Vanga’s son. So, is the BJP doing right by taking away leaders from other parties and then giving them party ticket,” Chavan asked.

Meanwhile, a four-cornered, high-stake contest is likely to take place in Palghar with the Shiv Sena, BJP, Congress and a local force, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) announcing they will contest the elections.

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–IANS

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