BJP withdraws candidate, paves way for Uddhav faction’s win in key Mumbai bypoll

MUMBAI: In keeping with the tradition in Maharashtra, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for the Andheri East bypoll Murji Patel has withdrawn his candidature, party state unit president Chandrashekhar Bawankule announced in Nagpur on Monday.
“The BJP is fully prepared for this election and we can secure the requisite number of votes and win this election. However, if a MLA has passed away and one of his relatives is contesting the elections, then it is Maharashtra’s tradition to allow the person to be elected unopposed,” Bawankule said.
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He added, “The BJP has upheld this tradition numerous times in the past. The newly elected MLA will get about 1.5 years. Hence the party has decided to withdraw its candidate. The decision has been taken by the central and state leadership and I thank chief minister Eknath Shinde, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Mumbai unit president Ashish Shelar for taking it.”
On the last day of filing nominations, the Shiv Sena (Uddhave Balasaheb Thackeray) group had urged the BJP to withdraw its candidate and allow Rutuja Latke, the widow of late Ramesh Latke, to be elected unopposed.
On Saturday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray met Shinde at his official residence Varsha and on Sunday he made an emotional appeal to Fadnavis.
He even released his letter on social media.
Following Bawankule’s announcement, Raj Thackeray immediately issued a thank you letter to “his friend” Fadnavis in which he [profusely] thanked the latter as well the BJP and other leaders for heeding his appeal.
“A good, positive political culture is essential for a healthy society. As MNS, we are always trying to have such a political culture grow and political parties should take their political issues on a political platform and compete fairly,” he said.
Raj Thackeray thanks Fadnavis
Later, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray thanked deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis for the BJP’s decision to withdraw its candidate.
In a letter written to Fadnavis, Thackeray referred to the senior BJP leader as his “dear friend” and said it is essential to have a positive political culture.
He said the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is always in favour of proliferation of such a positive culture.
“I am thankful that you responded to this (appeal),” Thackeray said.
(With inputs from PTI)

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