Tussle in Mahayuti: BJP, Shiv Sena, NCP All Field Candidates from One Seat for Legislative Council Polls

June 14,2024

Elections will be held for four legislative council seats in Maharashtra on June 26 with the results to be declared on July 1. However, many dramatic developments are taking place in the run-up to the polls. While the partners of the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) have reached an agreement, there appears to be a dispute in the ruling Mahayuti. Candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena, and the Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party are in a face-off in the Mumbai Teachers’ constituency. So three candidates from the alliance — BJP’s Shivnath Darade, NCP’s Shivajirao Nalawade, and Shiv Sena-sponsored nominee Shivaji Shendge — have entered the fray against one from the opposition.

The MVA too initially saw a tussle over Konkan and other constituencies, with candidates of the Congress and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) filing applications. However, Uddhav Thackeray decided to withdraw the candidature of Kishore Jain from the Konkan Graduates’ seat. In turn, the Congress withdrew its candidate from the Nashik Teachers’ constituency. Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) pick Amit Saraiya also backed out. Even in the Mumbai Teachers’ constituency, Congress’s Prakash Sonawane withdrew his application, ending the internal rift in the MVA.

Reports of the rift in the Mahayuti came even as Nationalist Congress Party’s Praful Patel on Thursday rejected an RSS member’s contention that the NDA’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra was due to the NCP. “Some issues can be raised by people in their capacity but this does not make any difference to the alliance. Our alliance is here to stay and win the next round of elections,” Patel said while speaking to reporters.

RSS member Ratan Sharda had suggested that the BJP’s move to induct Ajit Pawar into the NDA hurt the alliance’s performance. “Maharashtra is a prime example of unnecessary politicking and avoidable manipulations,” he wrote in the RSS-affiliated magazine, Organiser.

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections for Maharashtra’s 48 seats were fought between two alliances – the ruling Mahayuti or NDA comprising BJP, NCP (Ajit Pawar) and Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde) faction and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), with Shiv Sena (UPT), NCP-SP and Congress.

The MVA secured 29 seats, while the Mahayuti bagged 18 and one went to a Congress rebel-turned-independent candidate Vishal P Patil in Sangli. In the MVA, the Congress bagged 12 seats, Shiv Sena (UBT) got 10, and NCP-SP seven. The Mahayuti’s BJP secured 11 seats, Shiv Sena six, and NCP just one.