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Allies BJP, Shiv Sena Brace for Bitter Battle in Maharashtra By-polls on May 28

While the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena will both contest each other in Palghar, the fight in Bhandara-Gondia will ostensibly be between the Nationalist Congress Party (supported by Congress) and BJP.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:May 21, 2018, 6:57 PM IST
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Allies BJP, Shiv Sena Brace for Bitter Battle in Maharashtra By-polls on May 28
File photos of Devendra Fadnavis and Uddhav Thackeray.
Mumbai: By-polls for two Parliamentary seats of Bhandara-Gondia and Palghar in Maharashtra scheduled for May 28 is turning into a bitter battle between allies BJP and Shiv Sena. The fight is not just about prestige, but also of existence for the three parties — BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena will both contest against each other in Palghar, the fight in Bhandara-Gondia will ostensibly be between the Nationalist Congress Party (supported by Congress) and BJP.

The three Lok Sabha seats of Palus-Kadegaon, Bhandara-Gondia and Palghar fell vacant in Maharashtra recently.

After veteran Congress leader Patangrao Kadam’s demise, his son Vishwajeet Kadam was given the party ticket from Palus-Kadegaon, which he won unopposed after other parties withdrew their candidates and Shiv Sena openly backed him.

Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha seat fell vacant after then BJP MP Nana Patole resigned while the death of BJP MP Chintaman Wanga led to by-polls in Palghar. The by-elections in these two seats will be held on May 28.

In Palghar, Hitendra Thakur’s Bahujan Vikas Aghadi has emerged a major contender while Shiv Sena has fielded late BJP MP Chintaman Wanga’s son Shrinivas Wanga. Turning the heat on Shiv Sena, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis directly accused Shiv Sena of backstabbing them while on the other hand, Wanga’s widow also filed a complaint with EC against BJP alleging that the party was using her late husband’s photo for campaigning. BJP has fielded Congress turncoat Rajendra Gavit.

Interestingly, this is the first time since the 2014 General Elections that Shiv Sena has fielded a candidate against BJP. “After our party president Uddhav Thackeray announced that we will fight the coming elections single-handedly, we decided to bring our own candidate for these Lok Sabha by-elections,” a senior Shiv Sena leader told News18.

When asked about the CM’s allegation of backstabbing and of hijacking the BJP candidate, the Sena leader shot back asking, “They did not visit the family even once in these six months since the demise of Chintaman Wanga. They did not give his son the party ticket. How did we backstab the BJP in that case?”

On the other hand, while elaborating on the BJP strategy in Palghar, a senior leader said, “The demography of the area has changed substantially due to migration. We are tapping on the north Indian and the south Indian vote-bank in some belts of Palghar constituency.”

As a part of this strategy BJP will be bringing UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to hold a public rally on May 23 in Nalasopara.

In Bhandara-Gondia, the BJP will face a tough fight from NCP whose candidate Madhukar Kukde is being supported by Congress. There are 18 candidates who have filed their nomination for the Bhandara-Gondia by-polls, including BJP’s Hemant Patle, NCP’s Madhukar Kukde, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh’s LK Madavi, eight Independents and seven others from smaller parties.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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