In a major setback to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) has almost won four out of six seats in legislative council elections. Though the results for two seats of teachers’ constituencies are yet to be announced officially, the margin between the top two candidates is huge and unlikely to change.
Three graduates’ constituencies from Aurangabad, Nagpur and Pune, two teachers’ constituencies from Pune and Amravati, and local bodies constituency in Dhule-Nandurbar went to polls on December 1. Out of the six seats, four have virtually been bagged by MVA comprising Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party and Congress. Independent candidate Kiran Sarnaik, who is leading in Amravati teachers’ constituency, is also likely to support the ruling alliance in the Upper House.
Abhijit Wanjari of Congress has defeated BJP’s Sandip Joshi with a huge margin from Nagpur graduate constituency. The BJP had retained the constituency since its inception and was represented by Union minister Nitin Gadkari five times and also by late Gangadharrao Fadnavis, father of former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Similarly, in Pune, NCP’s Arun Lad has won in graduates’ constituency while and Congress’s Jayant Asgaonkar is leading with a heavy margin in teachers’ constituency. Both the seats have spelt failure for the BJP.
NCP’s Satish Chavan has won from the Aurangabad graduates’ constituency for the third time in a row. His margin was more than 57,000 votes and he defeated BJP’s Shirish Boralkar.
In Amravati teachers’ constituency, independent candidate Kiran Sarnaik was ahead of his nearest rivals Shrikant Deshpande of Shiv Sena with a comfortable majority.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Amrish Patel won bypolls from Dhule-Nandurbar local bodies constituency by defeating Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi’s Abhijit Patil by 234 votes. Patel polled 332 votes, while Patil got 98 votes. Congress leaders have expressed surprise over the defeat as MVA has 213 members in local bodies, while BJP’s strength is 199. Patel had changed sides to join BJP by quitting Congress ahead of the assembly polls last year.
This is being seen as a big victory for the ruling MVA which has announced to contest all the elections, including that to the local bodies, together in the future. Ruling party leaders have said that it is a token of acceptance of the MVA leadership. “BJP has been decimated in 24 districts in the state during the council elections which were fought directly. This is ‘Maharashtra Express’ of MVA,” said former chief minister, public works department minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan.
“The results are not as per our expectations as we were expecting more seats to win. We miscalculated the combined power of the three ruling parties under MVA,” said Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.