Day after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) supremo Sharad Pawar requested to let Rutuja Latke win unopposed, Maharashtra BJP unit president Chandrashekhar Bawankule on Monday announced that the party will not be fielding any candidate for the upcoming Andheri Vidhan Sabha by-elections, reported news agency ANI. Following the announcement, BJP candidate Murji Patel will be withdrawing his nomination, ANI further reported.
Raj Thackeray on Sunday asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) not to field any candidate against Rutuja Latke, MLA candidate from the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction while Pawar urged to let Latke win unopposed ahead of the November 3 Andheri East Vidhan Sabha assembly bypolls, reported PTI.
“The term for the new member (MLA) will be just one-and-half years. The bypoll is being held because of the unfortunate death of Ramesh Latke. His wife is contesting the seat. Latke was a corporator and an MLA. His contribution must be taken into consideration,” Pawar said.
The byelections to the seat was necessitated after the sudden death of Ramesh Latke, Rutuja’s husband. Welcoming Pawar’s request, Uddhav Thackeray said that the NCP chief’s statement is a reflection of Maharashtra’s culture, adding that Latke’s untimely demise had caused pain not only to his family but to the party as well, the PTI report read.
Uddhav’s cousin Raj sent a letter to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis requesting the same. Reacting to the letter, Fadnavis said that the party will take a decision after holding a discussion on this matter. In the letter shared on his Twitter handle, Raj Thackeray announced that his party will not contest the byelection in honour of the deceased MLA. “The Andheri East bypoll was necessitated after the death of sitting MLA Ramesh Latke and his wife Rutuja has filed her nomination. The MNS will not contest the election as our way of paying reverence to the departed soul,” the MNS chief wrote, adding, “I sincerely request you not to enter the byelection and field a candidate against Rutuja Latke. I have witnessed the late Ramesh Latke’s journey and growth in the political arena.”
Ramesh Latke passed away in May after he suffered a heart attack.