Ex-BJP minister alleges fixing of Latur (rural) assembly polls

Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar

Mumbai :- In a shocking revelation, former Maharashtra minister and senior BJP leader, Sambhaji Patil- Nilangekar has accused some leaders of BJP and Shiv Sena of “fixing” the Latur (rural) constituency to help the Congress’s Dhiraj Deshmukh win the 2019 Maharashtra assembly polls.

In 2019, Dhiraj Deshmukh of Congress won the seat by defeating his nearest Sena candidate Sachin Deshmukh with handsome margins. Dhiraj is the son of former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and brother of Maharashtra minister, Amit Deshmukh.

While making the allegations, Nilangekar asserted that the electorate will not forgive them for “cheating” the electorate. He claimed that it was done in exchange for local Congress leaders’ help to ensure BJP candidate Abhimanyu Pawar’s victory from Ausa in the same district. Ausa has been a Congress stronghold and Pawar was former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis’s personal assistant

According to Nilangekar, the BJP did not contest the Latur seat and gave it to the Sena, which fielded a weak candidate making it easier for Dhiraj Deshmukh to win. Surprisingly, in the elections, NOTA [none of the above] option fetched around 28,000 votes while Sena candidate finished third by obtaining just 13,524 votes.

The local Sena leaders and workers, too, were upset over their candidate Sachin Deshmukh’s loss and wrote posts on social media saying their candidate has gone missing. The Sena workers also stormed the local party office protesting against the candidature.

Meanwhile, the Opposition leader in the state legislative council, Pravin Darekar said that Nilangekar has been misquoted. “I am sure he is a loyal party leader and would not cross the framework of party discipline. No party leader will resort to any irresponsible statement,” he said.

On the other hand, the state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil preferred to keep mum on the issue. “I have not heard the statement as yet. I will speak about it after seeking information about it,” Patil added.