Once bitten, twice shy. After major embarrassment following the humiliating defeat of Shiv Sena’s second nominee Sanjay Pawar to BJP candidate Dhananjay Mahadik in the Rajya Sabha election, Congress has swung into action to ensure the victory of its second nominee Bhai Jagtap in the state council election for 10 seats slated for June 20. There are 11 candidates in the fray and BJP legislator Prasad Lad and Jagtap will have to shore up votes in addition to the strength of their respective parties.
Considering the quota of 25.91 votes, Congress with 44 legislators after giving 28 votes to its first nominee Chandrakant Handore will have to mobilise additional 10 votes for Jagtap’s smooth sailing.
Jagtap on Wednesday met the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) chief Hitendra Thakur and pleaded to support him along with other two legislators. BVA had reportedly voted for BJP in the Rajya Sabha election. However, Jagtap hopes that BVA will this time cast their votes in his favour.
In addition, Jagtap and other senior party legislators are in talks with 13 independents and smaller parties seeking their votes.
On the other hand, Lad, who would require 16 additional votes, already met MNS chief Raj Thackray and urged him for his support. MNS has a lone legislator who had voted for BJP in the Rajya Sabha election.
BJP has fielded 5 nominees including Pravin Darekar, Shrikant Bharaitya, Ram Shinde, Uma Khapre and Prasad Lad. BJP is solely relying on its master strategist Devendra Fadnavis for the victory its of 5 nominees. BJP with its 106 legislators and supported by 7 independents, smaller parties and lone MNS legislator is in the midst of mobilization of additional votes.
Moreover, Shiv Sena with 55 legislators in the state assembly is confident of winning two seats while NCP with 51 legislators (excluding Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh) supported by independents does not see any problem for the victory of its two nominees. If the court allows bail to Malik and Deshmukh then NCP’s two candidates will be in a much more comfortable position.