Mumbai, Jan 28 (IANS): With barely 48 hours left before polling on Monday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continued to maintain suspense over whether it would support Congress rebel Satyajeet Tambe contesting the Nashik Graduates' constituency for the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections.
The Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance of Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena (UBT) is supporting a BJP rebel, Shubhangi Patil, for the January 30 elections.
BJP MLC Ram Shinde on Saturday revealed that the party would decide on its strategy later tonight, while BJP's Ahmednagar MP Sujay Vikhe-Patil hinted that the party is capable of "turning the tables overnight" in the elections.
Earlier, state BJP President Chandrashekhar Bawankule had dropped broad hints of extending support to Tambe, saying any decision of "the local (party) leaders would be acceptable", while emphasising that Patil will not get a single BJP vote.
However, the party has not announced its decision clearly so far, even as discussions are reportedly on between Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other senior leaders.
A fortnight ago, the Congress got a rude shock when its official nominee and three-time MLC Sudhir Tambe did not file his nomination and instead propped up his son Satyajeet Tambe as an independent candidate.
The party hit back by suspending Sudhir Tambe, expelling his son Satyajeet Tambe and followed up by en masse sacking the Ahmednagar District Congress Committee.
Besides Nashik Graduates' constituency, the other seats going to polls include Amravati Graduates' constituency and Nagpur, Aurangabad and Konkan -- all Teachers' constituencies.
In Nagpur, the main battle is between sitting MLC Nago Ganar, contesting as Independent supported by BJP, against Congress' MVA-backed Sudhakar Adbale of Vidarbha Madhyamik Shikshak Sangh. Shikshak Bharti's Rajendra Zade and NCP rebel Satish Itkelwar are also in the fray.
In Amravati, sitting BJP MLC Ranjeet Patil is contesting against Congress' MVA nominee Dhiraj Lingade.
In Aurangabad, sitting NCP MLC Vikram Kale is locking horns with BJP's Kiran Patil.
In Konkan, the MVA-supported Peasants & Workers Party's sitting MLC Balaram Patil is pitted against BJP's Dnyaneshwar Mhatre.
As the campaigning ended on Saturday, both the MVA and the ruling BJP exuded full confidence that they will make a clean sweep of the five seats in Monday's elections.