Updated: December 15, 2021 8:00:20 am
After winning the Legislative Council seats for Nagpur and Akola on Tuesday, the state BJP unit challenged the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government to hold the election for the Assembly Speaker’s post through a secret ballot. The BJP also seized the opportunity to taunt its former ally, Shiv Sena, and said that the latter was going downhill in the company of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress.
“I challenge the MVA to hold the Speaker’s election through a secret ballot… If they have the guts, they will…,” state BJP president Chandrakant Patil said just minutes after party candidates Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Vasant Khandelwal won the Nagpur and Akola Legislative Council seats, respectively.
While Bawankule got 44 more votes than BJP’s own strength of 318 votes in Nagpur, Khandelwal secured 80 more votes than BJP’s strength in Akola civic bodies and Zilla Parishad. While the Congress alleged that the BJP indulged in horse trading which led to the cross-voting from MVA representatives, the BJP said that increasing realisation among elected representatives, especially those from the Shiv Sena, that only Prime Minister Narendra Modi could ensure the country’s development led to its victory.
Patil said the general public and elected representatives, especially from Shiv Sena, seems to have made up their minds to vote for the BJP. “It happened in the Zilla Parishad polls of six districts as well… Similarly, the elected representatives who are with the MVA are with it out of fear of disqualification but they, too, are voting for the BJP as it happened in Nagpur and Akola,” Patil said.
Another senior BJP leader, Union Minister Raosaheb Danve, said people have lost faith in the Shiv Sena. “The elections once again prove that people have lost faith in the Shiv Sena. People are angry with the Sena for leaving its old ally… Their own representatives have no faith in the party… We can’t help. The Shiv Sena doesn’t listen to any advice,” Danve said.
BJP leader Pravin Darekar, who is the Opposition leader in the State Legislative Council, said, “The Congress lost in Nagpur because of the dictatorial attitude of its state chief. Whereas the Akola result shows the Shiv Sena’s condition is worsening. The Sena’s countdown has begun.”
Bawankule said, “The Congress changed its candidate at the last minute which highlighted internal dissension. We got 44 votes from Maha Vikas Aghadi. This is because of the dictatorial attitude of Congress president Nana Patole… he should resign from his post.”
State Congress president Nana Patole said the Nagpur loss resulted because of horse-trading by the BJP. “This is dangerous for democracy… We will give a befitting reply in future elections,” he said, adding that the change of the candidate in Nagpur was a political strategy. The Congress had first fielded Ravindra Boyar but later backed an Independent candidate Mangesh Deshmukh.
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