Maharashtra Assembly Election: Infighting within saffron alliance

Mumbai: The serious infighting within ruling saffron alliance has ignited new political controversy as in many places BJP and Shiv Sena leaders has rebelled against each other resulting in major cracks in the ruling alliance.

On many seats, this rebellion has discreet blessings of their party leadership. Sena is firm on contesting against Nitesh Rane on Kankavali seat and had refused to withdraw Sena’s official candidate.

Monday was the last day of withdrawal. CM Devendra Fadnavis, BJP state president Chandrakant Patil and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray tried hard to quell the rebellion in various constituencies.

Though most of the rebels withdrew nominations, a few remained firm on contesting. Such rebels have blessings of their party leadership to revolt against the allaince’s official candidates.

One of the prominent infighting within BJP and Sena is in Muktai Nagar assembly constituency in Jalgaon. Rohini Khadse, daughter of Eknath Khadse is contesting on BJP’s seat.

But Chandrakant Patil, Shiv Sena leader has rebelled aginst her and refused to withdraw nomination. The NCP has withdrawn nomination of their candidate Ravindra Patil and it is believed Congress and NCP will support Patil to corner the Khadse family.

Manda Mhatre, BJP’s candidate and sitting legislator in Belapur is facing a tough challenge from Shiv Sena city chief Vijay Mane. Ganpat Gaikwad, who is contesting on BJP’s ticket from Kalyan East is now facing serious challenge from Sena leader Dhananjay Bodare.

BJP legislator from Chinchwad Laxman Jagtap will now have a tough fight against Sena rebel Rahul Kalate. NCP’s official candidate Prashant Shitole’s nomination was rejected due to some errors. Therefore, it is said the NCP and Congress alliance will support Kalate to corner Jagtap.

In Aurangabad West, Sanjay Shirsat, sitting legislator and Sena leader is facing a rebellion from BJP corporator Raju Shinde. Sameer Kunawar, sitting legislator and BJP candidate from Hinganghat in Wardh has to fight against Sena rebel and ex-legislator Ashok Shinde.

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray failed to convince rebel Trupti Sawant, sitting Sena legislator from Bandra East where the Thackerays reside. Trupti has refused to withdraw nomination and is fighting against Sena’s official nominee Vishwanath Mahadeshwar.

Trupti is wife of Bala Sawant, who died a few years ago. Bala was popular due to his mass contact and social work. Afte his death, his wife Trupti defeated former CM and Congress candidate Narayan Rane in a byelection held after Sawant’s death.

RSP upset but helpless: The Rashtriya Samaj Paksh (RSP) led by Mahadev Jankar is upset with BJP. Jankar said BJP ditched him but he is helpless. He was in a mood to rebel and called a meeting of his party executive. But instead of revolt he surrendered before BJP.

He has announed that his candidates would contest on his party symbol “Kap-Bashi” (Cup-Saucer). He announced the candidature of Rahul Kul from Daund and Meghana Bordikar from Jintur. But BJP gave their AB form to the candidates and they filed their nominations. This irked Jankar and he announced expulsion of the candidates.

“I will work for the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance even though I am ditched by BJP,” he said, adding, “We have fielded Ratnakar Gutte in the Gangakhed assembly constituency and will campaign for him”.

BJP state president Chandrakant Patil spoke to him to persuade him not to revolt.

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