BJP fields Maratha and OBC candidates for Maharashtra MLC election, drops Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde

The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has released candidates list for the upcoming Maharashtra Legislative Council poll which is slated to be held on May 24. The party has decided to contest election on four seats and have nominated Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil (Maratha), Gopichand Padalkar, Praveen Datke and Ajit Gopchhade (OBC).

Party dropped veterans including Eknath Khadse, Pankaja Munde, Vinod Tawde, Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Prakash Mehta and Prithviraj Deshmukh, who had recently joined BJP after quitting NCP and had got one year and 15 months tenure as member of the legislative council.

Mohite-Patil is a former NCP MP, who crossed over to BJP in the run up to the assembly poll and was quite desperately waiting for his nomination. His father and former NCP MP Vijaysinh Mohite Patil though claims had not joined BJP officially had worked for BJP nominee in the Lok Sabha poll. Vijaysinh Mohite Patil shared the stage with PM Narendra Modi at one of the poll rallies and was felicitated for his grand work in the cooperative sector.

Padalkar was rewarded for contesting on BJP ticket against NCP veteran Ajit Pawar in Baramati assembly seat. Padalkar had lost his deposit while Ajit Pawar won with a record margin. Datke and Gopchhade are two new faces and also from OBC alike Padalkar nominated for the council poll.

Khadse and Munde had voiced dissent against the BJP ahead and post assembly polls held in October 2019. Both had targeted former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for denying them tickets. They did not take any extreme step despite repeated criticism but preferred to stay with the BJP which is now opposition party with 105 members in the newly elected 288 member legislative assembly.

Tawde, Bawankule and Mehta had no choice but to further slog for the party. However, Deshmukh, who was seeking renomination, had to remain happy now with Sangli district unit chief of BJP.

Incidentally, former Congress minister Harshvardhan Patil, who had fought as BJP nominee in the last assembly seat was lost in his home turf Indapur against NCP nominee Datta Barne, was aspirant for the council ticket.

Patil, who had deserted Congress ahead of assembly election, failed to get it despite having proximity with former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

BJP with 105 members fall short of three votes to get its fourth seat elected based on 29 quota needed for victory for one candidate. However, party hopes to shore up the numbers. Fadnavis has already hinted that his party is ready for an unopposed election if receives offer from the Shiv Sena led Maha Vikas Aghadi

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