Uddhav Thackeray
Uddhav Thackeray

Mumbai: A senior BJP minister on Thursday met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, ahead of the Legislative Council bypoll on December 7. “Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhavji will speak on the bypoll issue,” Chandrakant Patil, who handles revenue and PWD portfolios, told reporters outside ‘Matoshri’ bungalow of Thackeray in suburban Bandra.

“I know Uddhavji since my days as a member of the ABVP and his association with the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena,” Patil said. “I am lucky that I get so much time with him,” he added, referring to the over an hour-long meeting.

To a query on the Council bypoll to the seat vacated by former Congress leader Narayan Rane, Patil said, “That was not my subject today.”  Rane quit the Congress party in September and also resigned his legislative council seat. On October 1, he formed a new political party called Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha, which he later said would support the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).  Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had recently said Rane would be made a cabinet minister.

The Congress and the NCP this week decided to contest the election jointly to thwart the BJP’s chances. If Rane contests the 7 December bypoll, he needs to win at least 145 votes from the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, to get elected.  In the Assembly, the BJP has 122 members, followed by Shiv Sena (63), Congress (42), and NCP (41). The Sena, Congress, and NCP collectively have 146 votes against the BJP’s 130 (122 plus independents and smaller parties).

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