Before the Brihanmumbai Municipal corporation (BMC) elections in Mumbai, the bypolls of Andheri East legislative Assembly constituency on November 3 will be the first litmus test for the former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena.
The Election Commission of India (EC) on Monday announced the date for the bypolls to the Andheri (East) Assembly constituency in Mumbai, the first election in the city after the split in the Shiv Sena and fall of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government.
The EC on Monday released the schedule for bypolls to seven Assembly constituencies in Maharashtra, Bihar, Haryana, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. The elections will be held on November 3 and the last date for filing nominations is October 14, the EC said.
The counting of votes will take place on November 6.
In Maharashtra, the election will take place in Andheri East, the constituency which fell vacant after the death of Sena MLA Ramesh Latke in May.
MLA Latke died from a heart attack while he was on a trip to Dubai this year. As a result, the Andheri East Legislative Assembly seat was vacant. Since it is mandatory to hold a by-election on a vacant seat within six months of time, accordingly the ECI on Monday announced rhe schedule.
While the Thackeray faction has fielded Latke’s wife Rutuja in the election, the BJP is fielding former BMC corporator Murji Patel.
The upcoming contest has generated intense interest as both the factions of Shiv Sena are in the race for the ‘Bow and Arrow’ poll symbol of the party and the EC is currently hearing the plea to decide which is the ‘real’ Shiv Sena.
If the EC freezes the Bow and Arrow poll symbol of the party, then the Sena will have to fight with a different poll symbol and this will be a setback for the party.
The Thackeray faction has been insisting that the elections should be fought unopposed as Latke’s wife is contesting.
Recently, Jitendra Janavale, the Sena sub-division head from Bandra, had written to Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis requesting that Latke be elected unopposed.
But the BJP has decided to field its own candidate. “The BJP-Shinde alliance has already finalised Patel as a candidate for the bypoll and the preparation has been started by the party as well as Patel,” said a BJP functionary.
There was an attempt by the Shinde faction to woo Rituja Latke for the elections, but she preferred to remain with the Thackeray faction.