BJP’s Prasad Lad today defeated his Congress rival Dilip Mane in the bypoll held to the lone Maharashtra Legislative Council seat. Though Lad’s victory was certain given that numbers were heavily stacked in his favour, the election witnessed splitting of nine votes from the opposition camp of the Congress and NCP. Lad secured 209 votes while Mane bagged 73 votes.
The bypoll was necessitated following resignation of former Congress leader Narayan Rane whose Maharashtra Swabhiman Paksha is a constituent of the NDA.
Rane is likely to be accommodated as a Cabinet minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government.
In the bypoll, 284 MLAs out of the total 288 MLAs voted.
Among the remaining four, Waris Pathan and Imtiaz Jaleel of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Musalmeen (AIMIM) abstained from voting whereas Shiv Sena minister Arjun Khotkar could not cast his ballot as he was disqualified as an MLA by the high court. Jailed NCP MLA Chhagan Bhujbal could not cast his ballot as he was not granted the necessary permission in time.
Out of the 284 MLAs who cast their ballots, two votes of the BJP were turned invalid, bringing the quota needed for victory to 142 votes.
On the eve of the bypoll, the tally of votes of the BJP camp, comprising the Shiv Sena, stood at 202 as against the combined Congress-NCP tally of 91 votes.
However, the saffron tally whittled down to 200 votes as two votes of the BJP turned invalid, whereas Lad finally got 9 votes more.
The Congress-NCP tally came down to 85 votes, as Congress MLA Nitesh Rane and NCP’s Ramesh Kadam, who is in jail, hinted that they had not voted for Mane. Rane supporter Kalidas Kolambkar too had turned a Congress rebel.
Out of the 42 MLAs of the Congress, Nitesh Rane, the son of Narayan Rane, indicated that he did not vote for the Congress candidate. Out of 41 MLAs of the NCP, Bhujbal could not vote while Kadam voted in favor of Lad, besides abstention of two AIMIM MLAs.
The BJP-led saffron camp has 196 votes and managed to enlist the support of six more votes, bringing its overall tally to 202 votes. Out of 196 votes, the BJP has 122 MLAs, Sena (62 minus Arjun Khotkar), BVA (3), MNS (1), RSP (1) and Independent (7).
With Lad’s win, the BJP’s strength in the 78-member Legislative Council rose from 17 to 18, whereas the Congress’ tally comes down to 18 from 19. 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.