Updated: Tue, 21 Jun 2022 06:47 AM IST
The high-octane clash between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government ended in a tie with both sides winning five seats each in the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) elections on Monday.
As many as 11 candidates were in the fray for the 10 MLC seats that went to polls days after the ruling MVA alliance, which also includes the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, suffered a setback in the Rajya Sabha elections.
However, Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP once again outfoxed the MVA alliance once again by getting an extra council member. All the five candidates of the saffron party - Pravin Darekar, Ram Shinde, Shrikant Bharatiya, Uma Khapre and Prasad Lad - won the elections.
On the other hand, two candidates each of the NCP (Ramraje Nimbalkar and Eknath Khadse) and Sena (Aamshya Padavi and Sachin Ahir) secured their seats. Congress had also fielded two candidates, but only Bhai Jagtap secured the win.
Hailing the party's performance, the BJP claimed that cross-voting happened among the MVA members. The party also hinted that independent MLAs have supported it, claiming that they are 'dissatisfied' with the state government.
"We are very happy. Maharashtra has shown faith in the BJP. Cross-voting 100 per cent happened among members of Shiv Sena and Congress, we wouldn't have received so many votes otherwise. BJP will get more victory and received 134 votes," news agency ANI quoted Pravin Darekar as saying.
"Today we have got 134 votes and this is the answer to all those who questioned what Devendra Fadnavis can do? Devendra Fadnavis is the only leader who can lead, which all the three parties couldn't do. Devendra has done it, the government can't do anything and dissatisfaction has been shown against the government, independent MLAs have shown their dissatisfaction against the state government. We have proved this in today's poll result," he said.
BJP general secretary (organisation) BL Santhosh also supported Darekar's claims and said that the saffron party received 133 votes while it has only 106 MLAs in the Maharashtra legislative assembly.
"Maharashtra Council Polls: Shiv Sena-MLAs in Assembly: 56, Votes received: 52; NCP- MLAs in Assembly: 53*^, Votes received: 57; Congress- MLAs in Assembly: 44*, Votes received: 41; BJP- MLAs in Assembly: 106^, Votes received: 133," he tweeted.
"Even in defeat Congress exhibits its true colours. Its moneybag candidate Bhai Jagtap poaches party votes to defeat a Dalit leader from Party Chandrakant Handore. Old habits die hard," he added.
Congress, on the other hand, said that its candidate (Chandrakant Handore) lost the MLC polls due to "internal sabotage".
"It's really unfortunate that a Dalit candidate Chandrakant Handore who was supposed to get first preference votes of Congress MLAs lost to the second preference candidate of the Congress party. It's nothing but internal sabotage. My sympathy with Handore," Congress' Sanjay Nirupam tweeted.
The BJP has 106 MLAs, Shiv Sena 56, NCP 53 and Congress has 44 MLAs. A total of 285 members cast their votes in the MLC polls. However, former Maharashtra Home Ministers Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik, who are in judicial custody in money-laundering cases, were not allowed to vote.