he Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena’s poll contestants largely are those who have joined saffron brigade from Congress or NCP. Due to which there is unrest among party workers. Meanwhile, BJP has given its smaller allies a total of 14 seats and retained the rest of the 150 seats for itself for the Maharashtra assembly election. The Shiv Sena and BJP had finalised a seat-sharing agreement wherein the BJP, seen as a big brother, will retain the major share of 164 seats and the Shiv Sena will contest the remaining 124 seats. On the other hand, a section of local workers of the BJP and Shiv Sena have opposed the BJP’s decision to field Abhimanyu Pawar, personal assistant of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, from Ausa Assembly seat. Pawar would be making his electoral debut from Ausa in Maharashtra’s Latur district in the October 21 state Assembly elections. Some local workers of the BJP and Sena approached guardian minister and BJP leader Sambahaji Patil Nilangekar and expressed their unhappiness over the choice of candidate, Abhimanyu Pawar is being seen as an outsider. Sena workers want that the seat be given back to the party and a son of the soil be fielded from here. The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena contested election from Ausa earlier, but it was ceded to the BJP as part of the seat-sharing agreement for the 2019 Maharashtra assembly election. The seat-sharing deal between BJP and Shiv Sena, the ruling combine that is seeking a second term in Maharashtra, has led to a lot of heartburn among the cadres of both parties and many of them are now threatening to either rebel or ensure that they do not work to canvass for the official candidates. The BJP seems to be the worst hit with many in the party upset at the seats exchanged with the Sena and also on the choice of candidates. They were angry, as Patil Nilangekar had sought the ticket for his brother Arvind Patil from Ausa. However, BJP has given the ticket to Abhimanyu Pawar, the personal assistant (PA) to Maharashtra CM.
In its first list of candidates, the BJP dropped 12 sitting MLAs. One of them was Sudhakar Bhalerao, MLA from Udgir, who had his own arguments. Several BJP leaders from Nagpur, who have not been given tickets, also made a beeline to BJP leader Nitin Gadkari’s residence in Nagpur asking him to intervene. BJP is also having problems in Nashik where Vasant Geete, a former MNS leader who had joined the BJP, is upset at being denied a party ticket from Nashik. Geete is now planning to quit the party and has approached the NCP to contest on its symbol.
Manikrao Kokate, a former Congress MLA who had joined BJP, is also upset at being denied a ticket from Sinnar in Nashik. Shiv Sena too also has been hit with rebellion. Shiv Sena leader from Nashik Vilas Shinde has announced that he would contest the elections independently. Shinde is upset that the Nashik west seat that he was demanding has gone to the BJP. Narendra Pawar, sitting BJP MLA from Kalyan West whose seat has been allocated to the Shiv Sena in the seat-sharing pact between the saffron allies, now Nagendra Pawar would contest as an Independent candidate from the constituency.
Sena declared the name of Vishwanath Bhoir as its candidate from the Kalyan
West seat. Bhoir is Kalyan city president of the Sena. Six BJP corporators from Kalyan, along with Pawar and some BJP office-bearers from the city, had submitted their resignations to state party chief Chandrakant Patil to protest against the grant of the seat to the Sena. His supporters among BJP activists had also protested outside his office and requested him to contest as an Independent.
They had accused the BJP’s senior leaders of weakening the party in an area once represented by the likes of Rambhau.
In the mean time, Devendra Fadnavis, will contest from Nagpur South West. It is to be noted that Fadnavis had contested from this seat in 2014 too. BJP Maharashtra Chief Chandrakant Patil has been fielded from Kothrud while Pankaja Munde will contest from Parli. Shivendra Singh, who is a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivji Maharaj, will contest from Satara assembly. Mukta Tilak, the daughter-in-law of Lokmanya Tilak, has been given the ticket from Kasba Peth. Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who quit Congress and joined BJP recently, will contest from Shirdi. State Minister Girish Mahajan will contest from Jamner.
Udyan Raj Bhonsle has been nominated to contest from Satara for Lok Sabha by-poll. Notably, BJP has been given both assembly seats of Navi Mumbai, seats that Shiv Sena had been eyeing for its contestants. Aditya Thackeray has been fielded from Worli assembly constituency, a party stronghold in south-central Mumbai. Aditya will be the first member from the Thackeray family to enter the electoral fray after Shalini Thackeray, the wife of Jeetendra Thackeray, a cousin of MNS founder Raj Thackeray, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Shiv Sena is expecting to win maximum seats so that Aditya can be chaired as CM of Maharashtra.
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