Mumbai: The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction on Wednesday alleged that Rutuja Latke, their candidate for the November 3 byelection to the Andheri East Assembly seat in Mumbai, was being pressured by the Eknath Shinde camp to contest on their ticket.
Whereas Rutuja Latke denied meeting CM Shinde and maintained that she will contest the bypoll on the Thackeray faction's 'Mashaal' (torch) symbol.
Talking to reporters here, former Maharashtra minister Anil Parab, belonging to the Thackeray faction, claimed Rutuja Latke's resignation as an administrative officer in the K ward of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was not being accepted to force her to contest as the Shinde group's candidate.
A party leader earlier said that if her resignation is not accepted in the next two days, she would not be able to file her nomination papers by October 14. Rutuja Latke has moved the high court on this matter, and expressed confidence that she will remain loyal to the Thackeray-led Sena faction.
Latke says her loyalties are with Uddhav
When reporters asked Rutuja Latke if she was under pressure, she said, "Do I look so?" She expressed confidence that her resignation from the BMC would be accepted. "Like my late husband, my loyalty is with Uddhav Thackeray," she told reporters outside the BMC commissioner's office.
The Congress and NCP have pledged support to the Thackeray-led Sena faction in the bypoll. The BJP is likely to field Murji Patel.
"The Andheri East seat belonged to the Shiv Sena. We will contest and win. You will know our next course of action if Rutuja Latke is unable to contest," he said. Parab also said Rutuja need not buckle under pressure to keep her out of the poll fray or make her contest as the Shinde faction candidate.
Her resignation is not a matter of concnern
Meanwhile, Anil Parab claimed that BMC commissioner IS Chahal is delaying in accepting resignation without providing a reason. But, as per the reports citing similar incidents, the acceptance of resignation from BMC does not matter as the day she submits her resignation before the polls, she is considered eligible for another election.
The byelection, necessitated by the death of incumbent Sena MLA and Rutuja Latke's husband Ramesh Latke, would be the first electoral test for the Uddhav Thackeray faction following the split in the party in June this year.
After the Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government collapsed in June, Eknath Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister of Maharashtra, along with BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis as deputy CM.
BMC Commissioner say 'work in progress'
Mean while BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal claimed that the work on her resignation is in progress. Chahal said, "Its work in progress. Rules permit me to decide in 30 days. Rutuja Latke applied on 3rd Oct’22 evening. No question of any Govt pressure."