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Maharashtra Legislative Council elections: BJP wins Nagpur, Akola-Washim-Buldhana; setback to Congress, Shiv Sena

Of the total six council seats, the BJP has emerged victorious in four while the Congress and Shiv Sena in one each. The BJP had earlier won Dhule-Nandurbar and one of the two Mumbai seats unopposed.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
December 14, 2021 3:02:24 pm
The polling for the panchayat elections in Gujarat is scheduled to be held on December 19. (Representational)

The BJP on Tuesday won the Nagpur and Akola-Washim-Buldhana seats in the Maharashtra Legislative Council elections held last Friday (December 10) with big margins. The party, which had earlier won unopposed from Dhule-Nandurbar and one of the two Mumbai seats, has now emerged victorious in four of the six Legislative Council seats. Congress (Kolhapur) and Shiv Sena (Mumbai) had secured the other two seats unopposed.

In Nagpur, BJP’s Chandrashekhar Bawankule beat Congress-backed independent candidate Mangesh Deshmukh by 176 votes.Bawankule got 362 votes and Deshmukh 186. Meanwhile, Ravindra alias Chotu Bhoyar, who was the official Congress candidate till the eve of the polls before the party decided to support the independent candidate, got just one vote.

In Akola-Washim-Buldhana, Vasant Khandelwal (443 votes) registered a comfortable win against the nearest rival and three-term Shiv Sena legislator Gopikisan Bajoria (334 votes) as the BJP wrested the seat.

According to the election commission, 31 votes were declared invalid in Akola-Washim-Buldhana and five in Nagpur.

The highlight of these two council elections was the supposed defection of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) votes to the BJP. Although the details are still being contested, BJP’s leader in the state council Pravin Darekar said: “In both Nagpur and Akola-Washim-Buldhana BJP candidates got some votes from MVA.”

“In the Nagpur council, the BJP and its allies had 318 votes. The MVA (Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena) had 240 votes. The results show BJP polled 362 votes, which is 44 votes in excess. On the other hand, the MVA failed to retain their 240 votes. The Congress-backed independent candidate Deshmukh got 186 votes and Bhoyar got only one. So, it has exposed that MVA could not keep its votes intact,” Darekar said.

Meanwhile, the winner at Nagpur, Bawankule said: “Congress president Nana Patole who was making tall claims of defeating me should do introspection. You don’t win by getting aggressive,” he said.

The council polls came as a boost to the BJP and a setback to the MVA government. The NCP had no stakes in these polls and the battle was mainly between the BJP and Congress or Shiv Sena.

In the Mumbai council polls, BJP’s Rajhans Singh and Shiv Sena’s Sunil Shinde were elected unopposed. In Dhule-Nandurbar, BJP’s sitting member Amrish Patel was elected unopposed after Congress candidate Gaurav Wani withdrew.

Congress candidate and Minister of State for Home Satej Patil was elected unopposed from Kolhapur after the BJP withdrew its candidate Amol Mahadik. The BJP had wanted to avoid a contest in almost all the council seats. However, Congress president Nana Patole insisted on having a fight for the Nagpur seat and Shiv Sena was not willing to surrender the Akola-Washim-Buldhana seat without polls.

The opposition leader in the state assembly Devendra Fadnavis congratulated Bawankule and Khandelwal. “Both these wins are special and the outcome of hard work of every karyakarta. The victory in Nagpur and Akola-Washim-Buldhana with huge margins once again proved BJP’s mettle. Out of the six seats, BJP has won four seats. It has retained its lead in the state council polls.”

Meanwhile, for Congress, the setback in Nagpur has raised questions about party president Nana Patole’s strategies.

A senior Congress minister said: “The decision to get BJP corporator Chottu Bhoyar in Congress and pitch him as official candidate backfired. It was a fiasco. At the last minute, we withdrew the support for official candidate Bhoyar and backed independent candidate Deshmukh. It was disastrous.”

“We will analyse what has gone wrong. But just one victory in Nagpur should not make anybody arrogant. It is not like winning the entire state,” Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said.

Senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar said the results raise questions about the MVA coalition. “If the MVA votes defect to the BJP, it shows BJP is still the leading party in Maharashtra,” he said.

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