Independents steal the show

Fadnavis says 12 of 13 victorious candidates have already reached out him

Published - October 25, 2019 12:50 am IST - Mumbai

Lone warrior:  Independent candidate Geeta Jain, who was expelled from the BJP, celebrates with supporters after winning the election from Mira Bhayandar on Thursday.

Lone warrior: Independent candidate Geeta Jain, who was expelled from the BJP, celebrates with supporters after winning the election from Mira Bhayandar on Thursday.

The political fortunes of Independent candidates have soared in the Assembly elections. Thirteen Independents crossed the finish line as the results were declared on Thursday. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said 12 Independents have already reached out to him.

In 2014, only seven Independents emerged victorious. Political pundits believe the improved performance is due to poor ticket distribution and infighting within the saffron alliance. “It is too early to know the impact as we don’t know yet how many of them are rebel candidates and how many are truly Independent. They will, however, play a crucial role as both the Sena and the BJP will try to woo them. In the run-up to the polls, there was great discomfort between the two parties,” said Surendra Jondhale, political analyst and professor at Mumbai University.

Several Independents were disgruntled BJP leaders who stood against their party’s candidates. Mr. Fadnavis blamed the rebels for the party’s poor showing while accepting the defeat of Minister Pankaja Munde in Parli was a setback for the party.

Mr. Fadnavis said, “We will analyse why so many of our leaders have lost. The Opposition should not feel happy as they have failed to capitalise on the anti-incumbency wave. It is the rebellion that has cost us.”

Independent Chandrakant N. Patil staged one of the biggest upsets, defeating BJP leader Eknath Khadse’s daughter Rohini Khadse by a slender margin of 1,957 votes. In Mira Bhayandar, Geeta Jain, who was expelled from the BJP, defeated sitting MLA Narendra Mehta by a margin of 15,526 votes.

In Dhule City constituency, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen’s Shah Faruk Anwar registered a surprise victory over sitting MLA and Independent candidate Anil Gote. Mr. Anwar won by a margin of 3,307 votes.

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