Rulers have a revolt on their hands -- denied tickets, key leaders quit

Mumbai: Newton's third law of motion is currently at play in Maharashtra politics -- for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. After the steady exodus from the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena in the build-up to the assembly poll, the latter are now witnessing a revolt in their ranks after the announcement of the first list of BJP-Sena candidates.

In Marathwada and north Maharashtra, the BJP and the Sena are reeling under the internal bickering. Abhimanyu Pawar, considered a close confidant of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, is the first key candidate to face stiff opposition from within the party. BJP workers, led by Arvind Patil Nilangekar, have protested Pawar's being given a ticket. He is the brother of BJP minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar, who is the grandson of erstwhile Maharashtra CM and Congressman Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar. This is seen as a direct challenge from Nilangekar to the CM. His supporters protested on the highway, resulting in its being closed to traffic for hours on Wednesday.

In Sinnar, Nashik, BJP leader and former legislator Manikaro Kokate has rebelled and crossed over to the NCP. Kokate, a staunch supporter of Narayan Rane, was a Congress legislator till 2014. He was defeated by the Sena's Rajabhau Waje. Later, Kokate joined the BJP and was preparing to contest from Sinnar this time. But as per the seat-sharing adjustment, this seat went to the Sena. On Wednesday, Kokate joined the NCP, which promptly announced his candidature from Sinnar.

Former MNS legislator Vasant Geete, who joined the BJP after his defeat in 2014, is also on his way out. He was the state vice president of the BJP and was eager to contest from Nashik Central. But the BJP preferred to go with the incumbent, Devyani Farande. Now, Geete is reportedly in touch with the Congress and the NCP. Vilas Shinde, group leader of the Shiv Sena in the Nashik Municipal Corporation was eager to contest from Nashik West. Since this seat went to the BJP, Shinde has decided to revolt, as are Ramdas Chaskar from Dindori and Kashinath Mengal from Igatpuri.

Rajesh Bakane, Wardha district BJP president is also taking the exit route as the Devali seat has gone to the Sena's Sameer Deshmukh from Wardha city. Bakane has built a strong network of workers and will now contest against the BJP-Sena's official candidate, Deshmukh.

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