Nagpur: Former Maharashtra Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule, the BJP nominee for the lone MLC seat from the Local Authorities Constituency in Nagpur district, is expected to sail through comfortably given the numbers for the indirect elections to be held on Friday December 10.
The Congress has fielded a former BJP corporator with deep roots in the RSS, Dr Ravindra Bhoyar, who quit the saffron party after 34 years, on the eve of the election last month.
The BJP commands 314 votes out of the total 560 in the local bodies in the district, compared with the Congress’ 144 votes, and the rest belongs to other parties.
Bawankule was denied a ticket for the 2019 Assembly elections from his stronghold of Kamptee and he spent his time in party work. For almost two years he was given various responsibilities by the BJP and was on the forefront in the fight for OBC reservation.
Apprehending political machinations ahead of the polls, the BJP had whisked off a majority of its votes to various locales like Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, resorts in Madhya Pradesh, but most have returned to Nagpur early this week. Some of them who were accompanied by family members were immediately separated upon return and sent to ‘safe’ place adjoining a resort in Pench (Madhya Pradesh). They will be brought back to the city only for voting, sources close to the BJP said. This was to avoid any change of mind and possibilities of ‘marching’ to the rival camps.
An independent candidate, Umesh Deshmukh is also in the fray.
Besides Nagpur, the biennial elections are also being held in the neighbouring Akola-Buldhana-Washim where the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi ally Shiv Sena is the main contender against the BJP.
For the remaining four seats to the Local Authorities Constituencies, the Shiv Sena and BJP have bagged one seat each in Mumbai, Congress in Kolhapur, BJP in Dhule-Nandurbar – all unopposed — due to local-level political understandings.
Nagpur Collector and Returning Officer R. Vimla said 15 polling stations have been set up and all other arrangements for the elections have been completed.