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Maharashtra MLC polls: After defeat, Chandrakant Handore says he had warned Congress of cross-voting

Chandrakant Handore, who was deemed the Congress’s first-choice candidate in the polls, said he had informed the high command that second-choice candidate Bhai Jagtap was trying to get more votes than him.

Written by Yogesh Naik | Mumbai |
June 21, 2022 2:30:08 pm
Chandrakant Handore. (Photo: Express/Sourced)

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) working president Chandrakant Handore, who lost the MLC elections on Monday due to cross-voting despite being the party’s first-choice candidate, said he had apprised the high command and senior leaders about Mumbai Congress chief Bhai Jagtap trying to get more votes than him.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Handore (66) said, “I was officially the candidate of the party and the MPCC had given a quota of 29 votes to me. Since we have 44 MLAs and the rest of the votes would have got wasted, the party decided to have a second candidate, Bhai Jagtap. We had expected that Jagtap would get the rest of the votes from allies. I have done my math and found that two of our MLAs cross-voted and five votes meant for me went to Jagtap.” Jagtap’s win made the Congress susceptible to accusations that it did not do enough to ensure Handore’s victory.

Handore, who was the party’s lone Dalit candidate in the polls, said the Congress had shown immense faith in him and had given him the ticket. “AICC general secretary H K Patil, Congress legislative party leader Balasaheb Thorat and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had shown faith in me… Instead of Congress fighting their rivals, some of my party men fought with me.”

Handore’s candidature by the Congress was seen as an outreach to Mumbai’s large Dalit community in the run-up to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections. “Unfortunately, my defeat has happened. People are angry. I was a Dalit face. I was Cabinet minister from 2004 to 2009 and did a lot for Dalits. Their sympathy is with me. This could have helped the party in the civic polls. Some people have stabbed me in the back,” he said.

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“Some people felt I would have become big. There is no need to blame the entire Congress. I told the high command that my votes would be snatched and there would be cross-voting and had given the list of MLAs who would vote for me. I will demand that people who ‘stabbed’ me in the back should be thrown out,” he asserted.

Handore hails from Nashik district and his family has been in Mumbai for the last century. He began his political journey as a corporator and was Mumbai mayor from 1992-93. He later became a minister during 2004 to 2009 and was re-elected, but was not part of the state Cabinet in the Congress-led government from 2009 to 2014. He was later appointed as MPCC working president.

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First published on: 21-06-2022 at 02:30:08 pm

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