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Fadnavis overruled in favour of Smita Wagh

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
By Prashant Hamine

Although the by-elections to the four Legislative Council seats was a mere cakewalk for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena given the numbers on its side, it has set off widespread resentment within the BJP over the choice of party nominees. The BJP nominated former Jalgaon Zilla Parishad president Smita Wagh, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha president Mahadev Jankar and Shiv Sangram president Vinayak Mete for the Legislative Council elections. While Sena nominated its senior leader and Minister for Industries Subhash Desai for the fourth seat.

With no fifth candidate filing his nomination papers on the last day, Wagh, Jankar, Mete and Desai are set to be declared unopposed after a nod from the Election Commission of India (ECI).

However sources in the BJP disclosed that there was widespread resentment within the party over the nomination of Smita Wagh, wife of Uday Wagh, a trusted aide of Minister for Revenue Eknath Khadse. Sources disclosed that in a quick realignment of internal grouping within the BJP, state party president Raosaheb Danve, within just two weeks of taking charge, has moved close to Khadse and Minister for School Education Vinod Tawde both of whom are being considered as rivals to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The new triumvirate in the party is keen on checkmating Fadnavis. Khadse has on several occasions made his feelings known for being overlooked as the Chief Minister, being the senior most among the party MLAs. Tawde too is maintaining a low profile as of now after airing his desire to become the home minister, but instead had to be content with the education portfolio.

Sources disclosed that while the name of state party treasurer Shaina NC was not in the contention, some party leaders were surprised at state chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari being overlooked again for the third time in a row. Bhandari, the most articulate face of the party was overlooked for the May 2014 Lok Sabha elections, again for the October 2014 Assembly elections and again now for the Legislative Council elections as well.

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