INDIA. Mumbai: Close on the heels of its victory in the recent Rajya Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won five out of 10 seats of the Maharashtra Legislative Council by cross-voting with the help of smaller parties and independents, in the keenly contested election held on Monday.
While two seats each of Shiv Sena and NCP, one seat of Congress, and four seats of BJP were safe as per the respective party strength in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, the real contest was between additional candidates fielded by the Congress and BJP.
Finally, BJP’s Prasad Lad (28 votes) trounced Congress’s Chandrakant Handore (22 votes) to emerge as the fifth winning candidate of the BJP in the election held by a secret ballot.
The winning candidates: BJP: Pravin Darekar(29 votes), Shrikant Bharatiya (30), Ram Shinde (30), Uma Khapre (27), and Prasad Lad (28). Of these, the first four were declared winners in the first round of counting, while Lad was declared the winner in the 2nd/3rd round.
Among the BJP’s winning candidates, Uma Khapre, President of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha, becomes the first MLC to represent the Pimpri-Chinchwad constituency in the Pune district, in the state legislative council. In all the BJP secured 134 first preference votes (nearly 20 more votes than its strength).
285 MLAs voted in the election. NCP: Eknath Khadse (28), Ramraje Nimbalkar (29), Shiv Sena: Sachin Ahir (26), Amshya Padvi (26). Congress: Bhai Jagtap (26).
Chandrakant Handore was considered a safe and first preference candidate. Bhai Jagtap had filed his nomination as an additional candidate depending on outside votes. However, Jagtap managed to win and Handore lost. Both the candidates the Congress could not get enough votes in the first round of counting. Also, three MLAs each of the Shiv Sena and Congress were stated to have cross-voted.
The saving grace for the Shiv Sena and NCP was that their total of 04 candidates won in the first round of counting without any hindrance. Besides, the NCP candidates won more votes than the party strength, indicating that Nimbalkar and Khadse had the support of outside MLAs.
BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said that BJP’s victory in the RS, as well as MLC elections, has proved that the MVA Government is not stable and there are dissensions among its constituents. “We will fight till we install a people-oriented Government in Maharashtra.
Senior Congress and Revenue Minister said that the defeat of Chandrakant Handore was sad and the MVA Government will have to seriously rethink and work for better coordination between its constituents-Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress.
While state Congress President Nana Patole said that disciplinary action will be taken against those cross-voted, the Congress high command has summoned Congress MLAs from Maharashtra to New Delhi on Wednesday. Whereas Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray convened an urgent meeting of Shiv Sena MLAs on Tuesday.
Soon after the results became clear the supporters of Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar and Eknath Khadse rejoiced by bursting crackers in Satara and Jalgaon respectively.