Mumbai: Narayan Rane, leader of National Democratic Alliance (NDA), while eager to become the member of Upper House of state legislature and the minister, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, however, in a surprise move, may push the name of Prasad Lad, state vice president of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Lad would be the dark horse and would be a BJP candidate in the bypoll for member of state legislative Council (MLC) instead of Narayan Rane. Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party has extended its support to the Congress in the MLC bypoll.
The Congress and NCP leaders met on Tuesday to finalise the strategy of MLC bypoll. As the post is vacant in the Upper House due to the resignation of Rane, a former Congress leader, there was consensus between leaders of both the opposition parties over the support to the candidate.
Sunil Tatkare, state president of NCP said, “The NCP would support a Congress candidate as the seat belongs to the Congress quota. We have in principal agreed on a ratio that the candidate should be from a party whose member will retire or quit and resign from the party.” Ashok Chavan, state president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), said, “Congress will contest the bypoll to win the seat.” However, he did not disclose the name of a probable candidate of the party.”
Another Congress leader was worried about the tally and said, “Shiv Sena’s stand is not yet clear and hence we are doubtful about the victory of the Congress candidate.” He added, “Sena would support us if Rane is a BJP candidate. But if the BJP gives the ticket to someone other than Rane, we are not sure Sena will go with the BJP or still support Congress-NCP candidate.”
Meanwhile, a BJP insider claimed that Prasad Lad would be the probable candidate for the BJP as he is a close confidante of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Lad did not respond to phone calls and text messages. If the Sena goes with the Congress-NCP, their tally of numbers would be 145. Whereas BJP has support of 20 members and hence its tally would be 142. Congress fears horse trading in the bypoll if Rane is a BJP candidate.