Mumbai: In order to avoid division of votes, the BJP began their dinner diplomacy a day prior to the by-poll for the single seat, vacated by former chief minister Narayan Rane after he quit the Congress, to be held on December 7.
The BJP called their disgruntled partner Shiv Sena legislators for a dinner at Hotel Taj Mahal. Congress too held a meeting to discuss the poll strategy. Raj Purohit, the BJP whip claimed BJP-Sena candidate Prasad Lad will win the poll by grabbing 203 votes out of 288 votes.
The by-election for the post of Member of Legislative Council (MLC) will be contested between BJP-Sena’s Lad and Cong-NCP’s Dilip Mane. Congress legislators met at YB Chavan Pratishthan hall while, BJP-Sena legislators dined at Hotel Taj. “The BJP legislators will have to sign in register at the BJP state office before going to vote to Vidhan Bhavan and even after voting, the legislators will have to sign in the register,” said Purohit.
The Sena has already supported Lad and hence he is assured to get 184 votes comprising 122 of BJP and 62 of Sena. The BJP has support of another 16 legislators including independent and small allies. Congress and NCP has combined have 83 votes. The result of the by-poll will be declared on same day by evening. Shiv Sena’s Arjun Khot can’t cast his vote as his membership was cancelled by Bombay High Court.