In another jolt for the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra after the June 10 Rajya Sabha polls, the opposition BJP managed to get its ‘extra’ contestant elected as MLC, trouncing the Congress’ first preference candidate Chandrakant Handore, here late on Monday.
The BJP’s prayers for a ‘political miracle’ seemed to have been answered with all its five nominees getting elected despite lacking numbers while the MVA also bagged five seats.
The prime contest for the tenth seat — between Congress’ Bhai Jagtap and BJP’s Prasad Lad — came as a shocker as both won, while Congress’ first choice Handore was trounced in an unexpected upset, from the total 11 candidates vying for 10 seats.
Jagtap, 66, is a trade unionist heading the Bharatiya Kamgar Karmachari Mahasangh (BKKM) and President of Mumbai Congress, while Lad, 51, is an ex-MLC and ex-chairman of Mumbai Buildings Repair and Reconstruction Board.
Of the 288-member strong lower house, one Shiv Sena MLA, Ramesh Latke, died recently, while two NCP MLAs Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik – currently in jail – were denied permission by the courts to vote.
The quota for winning was 26 per candidate, and the votes of 29 MLAs of smaller parties or Independents were critical for both sides.
The MVA’s nominees – Sachin Ahir and Amasha Padvi (Shiv Sena), Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar and Eknath Khadse (Nationalist Congress Party) and Bhai Jagtap (Congress) have won.
All the BJP’s nominees — Pravin Darekar, Ram Shinde, Shrikant Bhartiya, Uma Khapre and Prasad Lad — sailed through though they were running short on numbers. Boisterous celebrations erupted outside the party offices in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.
Congress legislative party leader and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat admitted that the MVA’s votes had been lost and he would not point fingers at the BJP.
This proved to be the second major setback for the MVA after the BJP – under similar circumstances – bagged three Rajya Sabha seats, while the ruling alliance secured three, with one each for Sena-NCP-Congress, while the Sena’s second candidate was defeated.