Mumbai

Narayan Rane stays out of Maharashtra council by-poll


Mumbai, Nov 28 (IANS): Contrary to expectations, former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Maharashtra Swabhiman Party President Narayan Rane on Monday preferred to keep away from the upcoming by-elections for a lone seat to the state legislative council.

The decision was necessitated by political arithmetic, though the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said he stayed out of the contest on its directions.

Ruling ally Shiv Sena, which was bitterly opposed to Rane's candidature, promptly expressed support to the BJP's official nominee, Mumbai BJP Vice President Prasad Lad, who is believed to be close to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

Rane, on his part, commented that he was "a former Chief Minister, so he was not worried about contesting for a legislative seat" for the December 7 elections.

He had quit the Congress in September, floated the MSP and joined the National Democratic Alliance after an assurance that he would be inducted into the state cabinet.

Anticipating a stormy winter session of the Maharashtra Legislature slated in Nagpur next month, the BJP also decided to keep the Sena in good humour by fielding Lad, a former NCP leader who defected to BJP last year.

There was some speculation that the BJP bypassed a senior leader and spokesperson Madhav Bhandari, but he denied claiming he was "never in the race".

The opposition combine led by the Congress has nominated its ex-Solapur MLA Dilip Mane, though the numbers game appears to favour the ruling coalition.

On the developments, state Congress President Ashok Chavan built up suspense by claiming that its nominee Mane would bag the seat courtesy "an invisible arrow", hinting at Sena's whose official symbol is a bow & arrow.

"The Shiv Sena is unhappy over various issues including the recent farm loans waiver, and has repeatedly threatened to quit the government. Given the current political scenario, 'an invisible arrow' will help us win the by-poll," he claimed.

Mane has secured the support of major opposition parties including Nationalist Congress Party, Peasants and Workers' Party, Samajwadi Party and Peoples' Republican Party among others, in the 288-member assembly.

The BJP has 122 seats, Shiv Sena 63, Congress 42, NCP 41, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi and Peasanta & Workers Party are three each, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen two, the CPI-M, Bharipa Bahujan Sangh, Samajwadi Party one each, and independents and local parties seven. The winning figure is 145.

 

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