BJP’s Vinod Tawde, who is the leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, met MNS chief Raj Thackeray Friday and sought his support to get elected for another term.
Ten candidates are in the fray for the nine Council seats that go to polls on March 20.
Tawde’s attempt to seek MNS support comes days after Shiv Sena vehemently attacked its ally BJP’s former president Nitin Gadkari for having met Raj Thackeray to strike an understanding ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
BJP, with its 47 MLAs, is staking claim to two Council seats for which it has decided to renominate Tawde and Bhausaheb Phundkar.
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Every candidate has to ensure the support of 29 MLAs to get elected to the state Council. The MNS, which has 12 MLAs, is itself out of fray for the polls in which MLAs exercise their votes.
Tawde has to get re-elected to the Council to ensure he remains Opposition leader in the House. Assembly elections being still six months away, Tawde, who still is looking for an Assembly seat in Mumbai, does not want to take any chances.
“Yes, I have sought MNS support. Raj Thackeray has indicated he would convey his decision tomorrow (Saturday),” Tawde said.
He, however, denied there were any talks related to Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. “There is no question of any alliance for the Council elections.”
Tawde also expressed his displeasure over Sena’s failure to hold discussions with the BJP before declaring its two candidates when only one was retiring from the Council.
MNS’s Bala Nandgaonkar said, “At the moment, BJP wants our support. We have not taken any formal decision. It would be known in a few days.”
In fact, the NCP, which is falling short of 12 votes, may also seek MNS’s support. NCP has 62 MLAs and it requires 87 votes to get three seats in the Council. It also has the support of 13 to 14 Independent MLAs.
Congress has 82 MLAs, besides having support of a few Independents.
The Shiv Sena, which has only 45 MLAs, requires the support of at least 13 more MLAs to get its two candidates elected. Though it is trying to tap into smaller parties and Independents, it seems a difficult proposition.
The elections in state Council have been necessitated following the completion of tenure of nine candidates.
NCP has fielded three candidates – Hemant Takle, Kiran Pawaskar and Avinash Thakur. Congress has still not decided on its three candidates. Sena has renominated Neelam Gorhe and fielded Rahul Narvekar as a fresh candidate.