The Maha Vikas Aghadi on Tuesday received a setback with BJP winning the biennial election to the Maharashtra Legislative Council in Nagpur and AkolaWashim-Buldhana local government constituencies. There was a cross-voting by MVA partners -- the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress -- which led to the BJP securing more votes than their elected representatives.
Earlier, the BJP had won 2 seats in Mumbai and Dhule and the Congress and the Shiv Sena one each in Kolhapur and Mumbai, since their nominees were elected unopposed. With this, the BJP has bagged all the 4 seats and the Congress and Shiv Sena one each. The council polls came as a boost to the BJP and a blow to the MVA government.
The NCP had no stakes in these polls and the battle was between the BJP and the Congress, on the one hand, and the BJP and the Shiv Sena, on the other.
Interestingly, the MVA constituents, which were under the impression that they can together keep the BJP at bay, miserably failed due to overconfidence, inter and intraparty differences, lack of proper strategy and financial constraints. On the other hand,the BJP succeeded in weaning away disgruntled elements from the MVA and encashing on the rising discontent against it.
In Nagpur, former minister and OBC leader Chandrashekhar Bawankule, who was denied ticket in the 2019 assembly election, won by a margin of 176 votes. The Congress party, due to internal differences, ahead of the polling on December 10, had withdrawn the official nominee Chotu Bhoyar and extended support to independent Mangesh Deshmukh. Bawankule got 362 votes and Deshmukh 186.
Bawankule’s victory is expected to further reinforce BJP’s OBC outreach, especially since the Supreme Court has scrapped 27% reservation in local bodies in Maharashtra. The Congress failed to keep its flock together in Nagpur while the BJP, which put up a show of unity, succeeded in luring voters from the former and other parties. In the Akola-Washim-Buldhana seat, the BJP nominee Vasant Khandelwal (443 votes) registered a comfortable win against the nearest rival and three-term Shiv Sena legislator Gopikisan Bajoria (334 votes); with that, the BJP has wrested the seat.
The resentment against Bajoria within the Shiv Sena cost him heavily. In addition, the NCP and the Congress were not pro-active, as there was lack of coordination with the Shiv Sena; on the other hand, the BJP fought the election with a firm resolve to defeat the Shiv Sena. Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis in a tweet said, “Both these victories in Nagpur and Akola-Washim-Buldhana are special & results of hard work of every karyakarta.
With these victories in Nagpur & Akola by great margins, once again, @BJP4Maharashtra proves its mettle in these #MLCElections.” ‘'This victory has given a slap to the MVA.
The maths that was being put forth was if all the three MVA parties can come together, they can surely win. This election has shown that this was a wrong assumption. Maharashtra’s people are with the BJP and in future too we will get their blessings,” Fadnavis said. He took a dig at the MVA and pointed out that "political arithmetic doesn't mean three parties coming together to secure victory.
Arithmetic does not work in politics; chemistry does. And political chemistry is with us." Leader of Opposition Pravin Darekar took a swipe at the Congress and asked the ruling party to take lessons from the BJP on how to win elections. State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil dared the MVA to conduct the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly election through secret ballot and not by voice vote. Bawankule said ''State Congress president Nana Patole who was making tall claims of defeating me should do introspection. You don’t win by getting aggressive.”
However, the NCP and Congress claimed BJP victory was due to large-scale horse trading and manipulation. '‘We will analyze what went wrong. But just one victory in Nagpur should not make anybody arrogant. It is not like they won the entire state,” state Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said. NCP Chief Spokesman and Minority Affair Minister Nawab Malik claimed that the BJP had indulged in cross-voting with the help of moneybags.
‘’The law should be enacted for holding council elections on the lines of Rajya Sabha polls in which voting is done as per the party whip,’’ he noted. Minister of state for agriculture Bachhu Kadu downplayed the BJP’s victory saying it Minister of state for agriculture Bachhu Kadu downplayed the BJP’s victory saying it was because of the limited number of voters.
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