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LAD STANDS TALL WITH EASY WIN

Friday, December 08, 2017
By Prashant Hamine

Lad manages to split 9 Cong-NCP votes as he trounces Dilip Mane

In what was an foregone conclusion, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Prasad Lad trounced his Congress rival Dilip Mane managing to split nine votes from the opposition Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) camp in the bye-election to the lone Elected by MLAs constituency in the Legislative Council for which bye-election was held yesterday. Lad managed to secure 209 votes, while Mane could manage to secure 73 votes and two votes were turned invalid. Going by the numbers game, it does appear that most of the nine votes that were split, belonged to the Congress.

Out of a electoral college of 288 MLAs, 284 MLAs cast their ballot. Two All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Musalmeen (MIM) MLAs – Waris Pathan and Imtiaz Jaleel abstained from voting. Besides these two, Shiv Sena’s Minister of State for Textiles Arjun Khotkar was not eligible to cast his vote as he has been disqualified from his membership in the Legislative Assembly and hence could not vote. While, senior NCP member Chhagan Bhujbal who is in jail was unable to cast his ballot as he was not granted the permission in time. Out of the 284 MLAs who cast their votes, two votes belonging to BJP were turned invalid, bringing the required quota of votes to win to 142 votes.

Speaking to The Afternoon D&C at state BJP headquarters later in the evening, BJP legislature party chief whip Raj K Purohit claimed that the BJP has managed to split nine votes from the Congress-NCP camp. He however admitted that two votes from the BJP camp were turned invalid, otherwise the total number of votes split from the opposition camp could have gone up to 11 votes. Sources disclosed that the Sena in order to ensure a close watch on its 62 MLAs had appointed Sena president Uddhav Thackerays trusted aide Milind Narvekar as the polling agent for the bye-election.

On the eve of the election the BJP tally of votes in its kitty was 202, whereas Lad bagged 209 votes. As against this the opposition Congress-NCP camp had a total votes kitty of 91 votes. As two BJP MLAs cast Invalid votes, the BJP tally came down to 200 votes, whereas Lad finally got 209 votes, nine more votes. Whereas, the Congress-NCP votes kitty came down to 85 from 89 votes, as Congress MLA Nitesh Rane and Ramesh Kadam (NCP) who is in jail hinted that they had not voted for the Congress candidate. To make matters worse for the Congress camp, two MIM MLAs chose to remain absent arguing that with the outcome of the election was already known, it was pointless for them to cast their vote, even though both the BJP and Congress camps had approached them to seek their votes.

Out of the 42 MLAs of the Congress, Nitesh Rane, son of former Congress leader Narayan Rane indicated that he did not vote for the Congress candidate. The other known Congress rebel dark-horse could well be known supporter of Rane senior, Kalidas Kolambkar. As against this out of the 41 NCP MLAs, Bhujbal did not vote and Ramesh Kadam voted in favor of Lad, and two MIM MLAs from the Congress camp abstained from voting.

As against this the BJP camp had 196 votes of its own and managed to enlist support of 6 more votes, bringing its overall tally to 202 votes. Out of which the BJP has 122 MLAs, Senas tally came down from 63 to 62 votes (minus Arjun Khotkar), 3 BVA, 1 MNS, 1 RSP and 7 Independent MLAs. Whereas, Lad finally managed to poll 209 votes, nine more votes. Although Lad scored an emphatic win, the entire day the state BJP headquarters at Nariman Point wore a deserted look with none of the state BJP office bearers present as a triumphant Lad made an entry into the party office in the evening.

With this victory the BJPs tally in the 78 member Legislative Council now goes up from 17 to 18 and the Congress tally comes down from 19 to 18. The current partywise strength in the 78 member Legislative Council is as follows: NCP 23, Congress 18, BJP 18, Sena 9, JD-U 1, PWP-I 1, PRP 1, Independents 6 and vacant 1.

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