Equations changing as BVA supports Fadnavis

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. (PTI Photo)

 In a surprising turn of events, the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, that has three MLAs, has extended support to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

In the results tally,  the BVA with 3 MLAs is in the fifth position after BJP (105),  Shiv Sena (56),  NCP (54) and Congress (44). 

The BVA, a dominant political force in Palghar district,  has been able to maintain the 2014 tally in 2019.

The three MLAs are BVA founder-President Hitendra Thakur (Vasai),  his son Kshitij Thakur (Nalasopara) and Rajesh Patil (Boisar). 

While Thakur Sr defeated Vijay Patil, a former Congressman, who was inducted by Shiv Sena before polls, Kshitij defeated encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma. On the other in Boisar-ST seat, Patil defeated Vilas Tare, who moved from BVA to Sena before the polls. 

A few days ago, Thakur Sr announced that this was his last election.

On Thursday,  Kshitij met Fadnavis and extended his support to him and BJP.

The BVA also controls the Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation and dominates the Vasai-Virar belt, one of the fastest-growing urban conglomeration.  It comes under the jurisdiction of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. 

In fact,  the Palghar district was a flashpoint between Fadnavis and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, a few months ago.

It may be recalled, sitting Palghar MP Chintaman Vanaga of BJP died on 30 January 2018, following a massive heart attack in New Delhi.  The Shiv Sena inducted his son Shrinivas Vanaga and announced his candidature to BJP's surprise and displeasure in the bye-polls. It was all on Fadnavis to handle the situation and he brought in Congressman and former minister Rajendra Gavit, a veteran tribal leader to contest. 

There was a fierce five-cornered contest involving junior Vanaga (Sena), Gavit (BJP), Damu Shingda (Congress), Baliram Jadhav (BVA) and Kiran Gahla of CPI (M). Gavit won defeating Vanaga, while the third and fourth position were occupied by BVA and CPI (M) and Congress was a poor fifth.

During the Lok Sabha seat-sharing talks, the Sena demanded the Palghar seat - which the BJP agreed.  What is interesting is that Sena had to "import" Gavit,  the sitting BJP MP to contest and decided to accommodate Vanaga in the Vidhan Sabha.  Gavit of Sena won defeating BJP's Jadhav.

In Assembly polls,  Sena fielded most candidates in the district including Vanaga Jr from Palghar-ST seat, who won.

In the district that adjoins the western suburbs of Mumbai,  the BJP does not have a single seat but now political equations are changing.

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