Congress faces embarrassment Mah in Council elections
Mumbai | Wednesday, Mar 26 2008 IST
In a major embarrassment for Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, one of the three Congress candidates lost in the biennial Maharashtra Legislative Council elections today.
Former minister and outgoing MLC Sudhakar Gangane, who is considered close to Mr Deshmukh, lost to Shiv Sena's Kiran Pawaskar by one vote. Ten candidates were in the fray for the nine Legislative Council seats. The Congress won two seats, the Nationalist Congress Party three seats and the BJP and Shiv Sena two seats each.
The Council members were elected by the Legislative Assembly members. The 289-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly has 75 Congress members, 71 NCP members, 56 Shiv Sena members and 54 BJP members. All three NCP candidates romped home with Sanjay Patil polling 32 votes, Hemant Takle polling 28 votes and Minister of State for EGS Rana Jagjitsingh Patil securing 33 votes. For the Congress, Shivajiraro Deshmukh won with 29 votes and Jaiprakash Chhajed also polled 29 votes and won. Sudhakar Gangane could muster 24 votes.
Both BJP candidates -- Leader of the Opposition Pandurang Phundkar and Vinod Tawade -- won bagging 28 and 32 votes respectively.
In the case of Shiv Sena, Dr Neelam Gorhe and Kiran Pawaskar have made it to the Upper House with 31 and 25 votes respectively.
While Sanjay Patil, Rana Jagjitsingh Patil, Shivajirao Deshmukh, Jayprakash Chhajed, Dr Gorhe and Vinod Tawade got elected in the first round itself, Mr Takle and Mr Phundkar got elected in the second round.
The tussle for ninth seat started between Mr Gangane and Mr Pawaskar which took several rounds. Finally upon counting the second preference votes of Mr Phundkar, Mr Tawade and Dr Gorhe, Mr Pawaskar prevailed over Mr Gangane by one vote.
The NCP, thus, secured 93 votes for its three candidates despite the party's strength being 71 in the Lower House and has the support of four JSP members.
The three Congress candidates, on the other hand, could garner only 82 votes despite the party having a strength of 75 in the Lower House and has the support of three CPI(M) members and 11 independents.
The BJP has a strength of 54 in the Lower House but the party's two candidates polled 60 votes.
The two Shiv Sena candidates polled exactly 56 votes, which is the actual tally of the Sena in the Lower House. But, since Mr Pawaskar romped home only in the last round, it is indicative of cross voting. There were speculations in the political circles that the reverse suffered by the Congress was the handiwork of Revenue Minister Narayan Rane whose rivalry with the Chief Minister is no secret.
Mr Rane, an estranged Shiv Sena leader, may have been instrumental in swaying his Sena loyalists in NCP's favour, according to political circles.
-- (UNI) -- 26BY34.xml
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