Mumbai, (The Hindu): The December 7 by-election to the Council seat vacated after the resignation of rebel Congress leader Narayan Rane is likely to throw a two-cornered contest. While Mr. Rane’s supporters are hopeful of getting the BJP support for his new party, Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha (MSP), the Congress has indicated the need of unity among all parties to retain the seat.
Mr. Rane, who had started his political career with the Shiv Sena, and then quit the party to join the Congress, may not get the Sena backing. A number of Sena leaders, since he floated the party, have expressed discontent over working with him in the State Cabinet.
“The seat belongs to the Congress. Whether to contest on our own or take support will be decided after taking guidance from the central committee of the party,” said Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra chief of the Congress.
The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), along with the Sena, can spoil the BJP’s plan to bring Mr. Rane back into the House. The BJP, on the other hand, is yet to make an announcement of extending help to the MSP.
Former CM and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said that all parties should come together if Mr. Rane decided to contest. “We should sit together and come up with a candidate who is acceptable to all. I am sure that the Sena will not support Mr. Rane.”
In the 288-member Assembly, the BJP has 122 MLAs, Sena 63, Congress 42, NCP 41, and others 20. “Mr. Rane has not only betrayed the Congress, but the Opposition. If he has any shame left, he should not contest this election,” he said.
At an all-party meeting in the monsoon session of the legislature, it was proposed by NCP’s Ajit Pawar that if the BJP poached leaders, all parties should come together and give a single candidate against the BJP’s nominee. “Our party will soon declare our stand on this election,” said party spokesperson Nawab Malik.
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