Mumbai: Prasad Lad, candidate of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena alliance, managed to split nine votes of Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) as he traunced his Congress rival Dilip Mane in a straight by-election in a sole seat of Member of Legislative Council (MLC). Lad got 209 votes whereas Mane get 73 votes. Two invalid votes were of BJP legislators.
As expected, Lad won the by-poll with a margin of 13 additional votes as BJP and alliance has their own 196 votes. It includes 122 votes of BJP, 62 of Shiv Sena, three of Bahujan Vikas Aaghadi, and each one of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Rashtriya Samaj Party. Seven independents also voted in favour of Lad.
Sena legislator Arjun Khotkar was not allowed to cast his vote as his membership has cancelled by the Bombay High Court. Nitesh Rane, congress legislator openly confirmed he has voted to Lad. Ramesh Kadam, suspended legislator of NCP also confirmed he has voted in favour of BJP candidate.
Mane of congress candidate was expected to get 89 votes in which Co press has 42 votes, NCP has 41, three from Peasants and Workers Party and three each from Samajwadi Party, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh and Communist Party of India (Marxist). However, NCP legislator Chhagan Bhujbal was not allowed to vote and Kadam was with BJP. Raj Purohit, chief whip of BJP said, “Two votes of BJP disqualified and one vote of Sena’s Khotkar wouldn’t get to Lad.” He added BJP managed to grab nine votes from opposition parties. Lad claimed he managed to split additional 15 votes.
All India Majlis-e-Uttehad Muslmeen remained absent for the vote. Imtiaz Jaleel, MIM legislator said, “Since there was no competition as it is obvious the Shiv Sena and BJP together would easily sail through we decided against voting.” He added, “Both BJP-Sena and Congress-NCP leaders had called us to vote for their respective candidates but we decided to remain neutral.”