The Congress suffered a setback and could only retain the Latur seat while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came up trumps with three and two seats respectively in the Maharashtra legislative council (MLC) elections from local bodies' constituencies held on May 25. The results were announced on Monday and the Congress managed to win Latur which was contested by Dilip Deshmukh, brother of the Union Minister for Science and Technology Vilasrao Deshmukh.
Of the total six seats, the Nashik contest ended in a tie and the Election Commission was asked for its advice in the matter, since the two candidates tied in the first round and in the recount as well. The Shiv Sena's Shivaji Shahane and the NCP's Jayant Jadhav secured 224 votes each in the first round and 221 each in the recount, according to party sources. On the advice of the Commission, Mr. Jadhav was declared elected after the use of chits to draw lots, according to the legal provision in the case of a tie.
Before the polls, the Congress and the NCP had agreed to share the six seats equally. Dilip Deshmukh was nominated for the third time from the Latur-Beed- Osmanabad local bodies' constituency. The seat-sharing where the Congress-held Parbhani was given to the NCP proved lucky with Abdullah Khan (Babajani) Durrani winning the seat.
Though the NCP had demanded the Latur seat since it had more numbers there, the senior NCP leadership accepted Mr. Deshmukh's candidature. It was in Chandrapur that the Congress took a beating and the warning signs were there to see even before the polls. The Congress nominated Rahul Pugalia, son of former MP Naresh Pugalia for the Wardha-Chandrapur-Gadchiroli seat and Pugalia lost to BJP's Mitesh Bhangdiya. Jainuddin Zaveri who is the sitting MLC from Chandrapur constituency, an independent who later got Congress support, was not given a second term. Instead, the party chose Mr. Pugalia who lost the 2009 Assembly elections from Ballarpur to Sudhir Mungantiwar of the BJP.
In Amravati, the Congress fielded Aniruddh Deshmukh, the district president, despite opposition from some MLAs and he lost to BJP's Praveen Pote. Local MLAs were in favour of Ajay Nawandar who contested as an independent and scored 107 votes off the rest.
Congress sources said that while the party abided by the seat-sharing arrangement and supported the NCP, which won in Konkan (Anil Tatkare) and in Parbhani, the NCP did not reciprocate in two seats.
Keywords: local bodies elections