With seven candidates running for six Rajya Sabha seats in Maharashtra,’resort politics’ has entered the picture in the MVA-ruled state, as well. According to the numbers in the Assembly, the BJP will win two seats and three MVA candidates will be elected. A high-voltage contest is expected for the sixth seat between Shiv Sena’s second candidate, Sanjay Pawar, who is supported by the Maha Vikas Aghadi, and the BJP’s third candidate, Dhananjay Mahadik.
Earlier in the day, an MVA delegation led by NCP leader Chagan Bhujbal met with BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis to persuade him to withdraw Mahadik from the race in exchange for an extra seat in the upcoming state Legislative Council elections, said a report by the New Indian Express. “The BJP leadership declined the offer and instead made the same counter-offer to the MVA, which the Shiv Sena rejected,” an NCP minister was quoted as saying.
And now, the Shiv Sena has decided to call its MLAs to Mumbai and lodge them in a hotel to avoid any chances of poaching, a party source told PTI on Friday evening.
Friday was the last day for withdrawing nomination, but no candidate has retreated, making the contest imminent. This (calling MLAs before the polls) is a normal practice, Shiv Sena leader Anil Desai said, without elaborating.
The BJP has fielded three candidates – Union minister Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde and Dhananjay Mahadik. The NCP has renominated Praful Patel. The Sena has fielded Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar. Congress has given candidature to Imran Pratapgarhi.