Mumbai, March 13: Stark numbers game compelled the Shiv Sena to Thursday withdraw its second candidate Rahul Narvekar from the March 20 biennial elections to the legislative council.
Narvekar was among 10 candidates put up by various political parties for nine seats which are due to fall vacant soon. With his withdrawal, all others are now due to be declared as elected unopposed.
They are – the ruling combine’s Shivajirao Deshmukh, Chandrakant Suryawanshi and Haribhau Rathod (Congress) and Hemant Takle, Anand Thakur and Kiran Pawaskar (Nationalist Congress Party).
The others are Vinod Tawade and Pandurang Phundkar (Bharatiya Janata Party), and Neelam Gorhe (Shiv Sena).
The Shiv Sena with 45 members in the 288-strong electoral college would not have managed to get both its nominees – Gorhe and Narvekar – elected.
Anticipating a contest, senior BJP leaders including former chief Nitin Gadkari had recently met Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray to secure his help in the elections.
MNS support was considered critical as the winning quota for each candidate was 29 but this had rattled the Shiv Sena, which virtually threatened to walk out of the ‘Grand Alliance’ in Maharashtra.
In fact, through a scathing edit in Saamana Thursday, Shiv Sena urged its ally BJP to stick to “alliance Dharma” and “not create mistrust” by hobnobbing with the MNS.
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray has taken strong umbrage at the manner in which top state BJP leaders have attempted to arrive at a political understanding with MNS.