Mumbai: Tea-time diplomacy between Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat, Nana Patole and Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis seems to have paid off, as the BJP has withdrawn its nominee for the Rajya Sabha byelection from Maharashtra. BJP candidate Sanjay Upadhyay on Monday withdrew his nomination following the Congress party’s request for the unopposed election of its nominee Rajani Patil. Monday was the last date for withdrawal of nomination papers.
Thorat and Patole had argued that Maharashtra had a tradition of unopposed election, especially after the death of a sitting legislator or MP. The bypoll was necessitated following the untimely death of Congress MP Rajeev Satav.
Upadhyay’s withdrawal of nomination has paved the way for the unopposed election of Rajani Patil, whose tenure will be until April 2, 2026. The byelection was slated for October 4, had Upadhyay not withdrawn. A formal announcement about Patil’s unopposed election will be made by the Election Commission.
State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil said, “Congress leaders, during the meeting referred to the tradition of unopposed election necessitated following the death of sitting representatives. The state BJP’s core committee, in response to the Congress party’s request, decided to withdraw the party nominee from the bypoll.” He congratulated Patil for her unopposed election to the Upper House.
Patil was picked by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party MP Rahul Gandhi due to her proximity with them. Patil was earlier elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha in 2013 and this will her second entry into the Upper House.
Earlier, Patil was the party in-charge in Himachal Pradesh and until now, in Jammu and Kashmir. During a recent visit by Rahul Gandhi, Patil had urged him to focus on the party’s rejuvenation and strengthening especially after the abrogation of Article 370 and the declaration of Jammu and Kashmir as a Union Territory with a legislature.
‘No quid pro quo on revocation of suspension of 12 BJP MLAs’
Congress insiders on Monday said the party did not strike any deal with Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis over revoking the suspension of the 12 BJP legislators if the party were to withdraw its nominee in the Rajya Sabha election.
A senior minister told The Free Press Journal, “The Congress, which is sharing power with the Shiv Sena and NCP, cannot unilaterally make any commitment, as such a crucial decision will have to be taken by three partners together. Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat and Nana Patole had merely urged Fadnavis to withdraw the BJP nominee from Rajya Sabha bypoll and there was no talk of revoking the suspension of the 12 BJP legislators in return.” The 12 BJP legislators were suspended in the monsoon session for their unruly behaviour in the state assembly.
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