Political atmosphere heats up in the State

Pandurang Mhaske
Tuesday, 12 March 2019

In the first part, Ahmednagar MP Dilip Gandhi’s supporters tried to surround the chief minister at Mantralaya, and in another development, MNS’s  MLA Sharad Sonawane joined Shiv Sena.

MUMBAI: As soon as the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for Lok Sabha elections came into force from Sunday evening, Lok Sabha aspirants suddenly started their tactics to put pressure on their party leaders for getting a candidature. Some followed the old path of quitting one party and joined another.

On Monday, a high-voltage political drama involving various political activists took place in Mumbai. 

In the first part, Ahmednagar MP Dilip Gandhi’s supporters tried to surround the chief minister at Mantralaya, and in another development, MNS’s only MLA Sharad Sonawane from Junnar joined Shiv Sena. Gandhi is willing to contest from the same seat again. 

BJP leaders are not happy with Gandhi and they were in search of an alternative person to contest from the seat. In last few days, Sujay Vikhe-Patil, son of LoP Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, was trying to get a ticket from the same constituency. 

The Ahmednagar seat is with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and NCP is not ready to give it to the Congress. Sujay Vikhe-Patil is desperate to contest from the seat as it is a traditional bastion of Vikhe-Patil family. 

NCP Chief Sharad Pawar has also clarified that though there is an alliance with Congress, only NCP will contest from Ahmednagar. Realising that he may not get a ticket from the alliance quota,  Sujay Vikhe-Patil became desperate and joined the BJP.  

As Sujay’s entry in BJP was confirmed, disgruntled MP Dilip Gandhi and his supporters reached Mumbai on Monday. They gathered at BJP’s State Office at Nariman Point, where a meeting of BJP’s Parliamentary Committee was going on. Before the meeting, Gandhi’s supporters went to meet Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and opposed Sujay Vikhe-Patil’s entry in BJP. 

In another development, MNS’s only MLA Sharad Sonawane joined Shiv Sena in presence of its Chief Uddhav Thackeray. Sonawane was elected as MLA from Junnar Assembly seat in 2014. Earlier, he was with Shiv Sena but was denied ticket during the assembly election. Then, he quit Shiv Sena and joined MNS and contested the election as a MNS candidate and won the election. He is the only MNS MLA, so even after his entry in Shiv Sena, Anti-Defection Law will not be applicable for him.

In the last few months, Sonawane was very active during MNS programmes. Uddhav Thackeray said, “We welcome Sharad Sonawane as he is an original Shiv Sainik and has come back to his home.”

Meanwhile, MNS Secretary Sandeep Deshpande said, “Those who work and help the party are our real assets. In the last four and half years, he was a dead property for the party. Hence, the party will not suffer much loss even after Sonawane’s defection.”

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