Mumbai: Hours after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray looked for the unopposed election of Uddhav Thackeray-drove faction’s Rutuja Latke in the upcoming Andheri East by-poll, a Shiv Sena MLA from the Eknath Shinde camp too asked the Chief Minister that the BJP should not field a candidate against her.
MLA Pratap Sarnaik last evening wrote to Mr. Shinde that as a tribute to Shiv Sena’s Ramesh Latke, the sitting MLA from the constituency who died earlier this year, all parties ought to back his wife Rutuja Latke, and let her win the election.
The Andheri East by-poll will be held on November 3, and today (17.10.2022) is the last day to file nominations.
MLA Pratap requested after Raj Thackeray wrote to Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asking him that the BJP should withdraw the nomination of its candidate Murji Patel, so Ms. Latke can win the election unopposed.
“Late Ramesh Latke’s wife Rutuja Latke is contesting the election after her husband’s death. I have been a witness to Ramesh Latke’s journey from a worker to MLA. His wife became an MLA after his death would be a tribute to the departed soul,” Mr. Thackeray wrote in the letter.
“I think by doing this we are paying tribute to the late representative of the people. To do so is also in line with the great culture of Maharashtra. I hope you will accept my request,” he added.
Answering Thackeray’s letter, Mr. Fadnavis said that he cannot take the decision alone and that the matter should be discussed with the senior party leaders and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
NCP Chief Sharad Pawar has also appealed to the BJP to withdraw its candidate from the race.
“The term for the new member (MLA) will be just one-and-half years. The bypoll is being held because of the unfortunate death of Ramesh Latke. His contribution must be taken into consideration,” Mr. Pawar said.
Earlier, the Thackeray faction accused the Eknath Shinde faction of trying to undermine their candidate ahead of the elections by affecting the Mumbai civic body not to accept her resignation.
Ms. Latke, who worked as a clerk in the Brihanmumbai Corporation, filed her nomination only after a court order that directed the civic body to accept her resignation.
BJP candidate Murji Patel, who filed his nomination last week, has said that he is ready to pull out his nomination from the race if the party asked him.