In a boost for Shiv Sena (Uddhav group), the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party have declared support to its candidate in the upcoming Andheri East Assembly by-elections, party leaders said here on Wednesday.
The bypoll is necessitated owing to the demise of the sitting Sena legislator, Ramesh Latke, who died in Dubai last May.
The Sena has fielded his widow, Rutuja Ramesh Latke for the November 3 byelections, hoping to garner the sympathy votes.
She will take on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s former BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) corporator Murji Patel, who is considered a popular leader in the area.
This is the first crucial electoral test for the Sena President and former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray after the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in June.
The election has triggered a keen tussle between Thackeray and the rival faction led by the BJP-supported Chief Minister Eknath Shinde who toppled the MVA.
Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole said today that the party will not field its own candidate but will support the MVA nominee who is contesting on a Sena ticket.
NCP National Spokesperson also said that the party will support the Sena nominee for the bypolls.
“The MVA was formed after the 2019 Assembly elections to keep the communal BJP out of power for the benefit of the state. During our tenure of two-and-half years, we took many welfare decisions and did good work during the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis,” said Patole.
However, the BJP at the Centre misused the central agencies like the ED and CBI to bring down the MVA regime by taking away the Sena MLAs, he said.
Patole pointed out how, when all BJP efforts to break the MVA alliance failed, they created a rift in the Sena to oust the state government in June.
The three parties will now go all-out to ensure the victory of Rutuja R. Latke over the BJP nominee Murji Patel, they added.