With the BJP winning all three Rajya Sabha seats it contested in Maharashtra, senior party leader Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said it was a "convincing" victory and attributed it to meticulous planning as well as team work. Speaking to reporters at the Vidhan Bhavan here, Fadnavis also took a dig at Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, who was one of the candidates in the fray, saying that BJP's Dhananjay Mahadik secured more votes than him. The BJP had fielded three candidates out of the total six Rajya Sabha seats that went to polls on Friday. BJP candidates - Union minister Piyush Goyal, former state minister Anil Bonde and Dhananjay Mahadik - won the fiercely-fought elections, while Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, NCP’s Praful Patel and Congress’ Imran Pratapgarhi also came out victorious. The contest was for the sixth seat - between BJP's Mahadik and Sena's Pawar, who lost. Mahadik and Pawar hail from Kolhapur in western Maharashtra. "It is a convincing victory for the BJP and it is not just adding up of numbers. Had even (jailed NCP leader and Maharashtra minister) Nawab Malik been allowed to cast his vote in the election and even if Sena had not lost one of its votes, the BJP would have still won the third seat," he said.
Hitting out at Raut and his tirade against the BJP, Fadnavis said, "The situation of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) is so bad that BJP’s third candidate secured more votes (41.56) than MVA's first candidate Sanjay Raut (41). BJP's two other candidates already secured 48 votes each. "It was our meticulous plan and team work. I would specially thank BJP's two seriously-ill MLAs - Laxman Jagtap and Mukta Tilak - as both of them travelled to Mumbai in an ambulance and voted for their support to the party," he said. "I had even informed the relatives of our ailing MLAs that they should not come to Mumbai for voting. But they insisted on exercising their franchise and came in ambulances," he added.
The former chief minister said that with this win in the Rajya Sabha elections, the BJP has started its victory march, which he said would continue till the next polls. "This result shows what people want in the state to happen as power was taken away from us in 2019 by backstabbing," he alleged without naming the Shiv Sena. The BJP and Shiv Sena had contested the 2019 assembly election jointly, but they parted ways following the results after differences erupted within the two parties over sharing the chief minister's post. The high-stake battle for the sixth Rajya Sabha seat turned out to be a nail-biting affair with the Congress and BJP trading charges, even approaching the Election Commission, which led to an eight-hour delay in counting of votes. The poll panel directed the Rajya Sabha election returning officer of Maharashtra to reject the vote cast by Shiv Sena legislator Suhas Kande, after which the counting of votes got underway after 1 am on Saturday.
(With PTI Inputs)