September 23, 2021 8:21:34 pm
Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole and state minister Balasaheb Thorat Thursday met Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, to request the BJP to withdraw its candidate for the upcoming Rajya Sabha bypolls.
The BJP has fielded Sanjay Upadhyay for the by-election, while the Congress candidate is Rajni Patil.
The bypoll was necessitated following the death of Congress MP Rajiv Satav in May.
Thorat said, “We met Fadnavis to request the BJP to withdraw its candidate. We want consensus and not contest. We want the elections to be a tribute to the late Satav. Moreover, this has been a tradition in Maharashtra. In the past, after BJP leader Pramod Mahajan passed away, Congress and NCP did not field any candidate in the bypolls against the BJP.”
The election and counting will be on October 4, with state Legislative Assembly members forming the electoral college.
Fadnavis has assured the Congress leaders their request will be considered at the BJP core committee meeting.
“The decision to field Sanjay Upadhyay was taken by the party’s core committee. Now, if we have to reconsider the decision, it will have to be placed before the core committee,” the former CM said.
Upadhyay, the general secretary of Mumbai BJP, was chosen as the candidate to convey a message to North Indian voters ahead of Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls and BMC elections early next year.
Congress’s Rajni Patil, a former Member of Parliament, hails from Marathwada region of Maharashtra.
Patole and Thorat met Fadnavis a day after state BJP president Chandrakant Patil said, “If Shiv Sena with 56 members in state Assembly can have a chief minister and NCP with 54 members a deputy chief minister, why can’t BJP with 105 members win Rajya Sabha bypolls?”
The Maha Vikas Aghadi has 154 members in the Maharashtra Assembly, with Shiv Sena’s 56 seats, NCP’s 54 and the Congress’s 44. Apart from these, the smaller parties and Independents together add up to 29 members. Of these, the MVA enjoys the support of 15, whereas the BJP has the backing of 14.
While this can ensure the election of the Congress candidate, a BJP leader said, “The Congress is seeking BJP’s help as they don’t want to put their candidate at any risk. They fear the election could expose the cracks within the MVA with cross-voting.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.