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Council polls: BJP accommodates two allies, Sena fields Desai

Maharashtra legislative council

Mumbai: Seeking to smooth the ruffled feathers among its allies, BJP today fielded candidates from Shivsangram and RSP for the January 30 election to Maharashtra Legislative Council, but left the Swabhimani Shetkari Paksh high and dry.

Shivsangram leader Vinayak Mete and Rashtriya Samaj Paksh’s Mahadev Jankar filed papers today, the last day of filing nominations. Both the parties had entered into alliance with BJP before the Assembly elections last October.

BJP’s Smita Wagh, leader of its women’s wing and former member of Jalgaon zilla parishad also filed papers. Wagh is known as a loyalist of Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse, who was present at Vidhan Bhawan when she filed the papers.

Subhash Desai, a Shiv Sena heavyweight and industries minister in the BJP-Sena government, also filed his papers. Desai had lost to BJP’s Vidya Thakur in the Assembly elections, but was inducted as a cabinet minister last month after Sena joined the government.

All the four would be elected unopposed as no other candidate is in the fray.

Three of these seats fell vacant after former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan (Congress), Vinod Tawde and Ashish Shelar (both BJP) were elected to the Assembly, while another seat became vacant after Mete was disqualified under the anti-defection law.

Chavan’s term in the Upper House was to end in 2016, while that of Tawde and Shelar were to end in 2020 and 2018, respectively.

After the dismal performance of the pre-poll allies in the Assembly elections, BJP was expected to help them enter the Upper House. However, Sadabhau Khot of SSP (another BJP ally) who wanted a Council ticket from BJP quota appeared sullen today.

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