The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction today claimed BJP candidate Murji Patel withdrew from the Andheri East Assembly bypoll contest after realising that his defeat was imminent.
But even after this “safe passage” the BJP has suffered humiliation, the Thackeray camp claimed further in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.
The front page of the Marathi daily carried an article on the bypoll with the heading “Kamlabai retreated from Andheri”.
Team Thackeray has labelled the ruling BJP as ‘Kamalabai’, a reference to its poll symbol – Kamal or lotus.
The Andheri East bypoll, scheduled on November 3, has been necessitated due to the death of Shiv Sena MLA Ramesh Latke earlier this year.
The Thackeray-led Sena faction has fielded Ramesh Latke’s wife Rutuja Latke, while the BJP had nominated Patel.
After Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray pitched for an unopposed contest, the BJP on Monday pulled out its candidate from the bypoll.
Seven candidates are in the poll arena, but the victory of Rutuja Latke is a foregone conclusion.
“The withdrawal of the (BJP) candidate does not appear as simple as it looks. In case of a defeat, the Shinde-Fadnavis government must have realised that they have to pay a cost. The BJP must have also realised that the victory of the Shiv Sena (Thackeray faction) is imminent,” an editorial in ‘Saamana’ said.
It also claimed that there was a strong possibility of rejection of Patel’s nomination due some anomalies in his papers.
“Their (BJP-Shinde group) car was at a dangerous turn and it was bound to meet with an accident. To avoid this accident, they applied brakes and took a U-turn,” it said.
“Instead of facing burn injuries (referring to the flaming torch poll symbol of the Thackeray faction) and facing an imminent defeat, the BJP chose a simple way (of withdrawing the candidate),” it said.
But even after this “safe passage” the BJP has suffered humiliation, the Marathi publication said.
It also slammed the state government for “creating hindrance” by delay in accepting the resignation of Rutuja Latke, who was an employee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and had quit the civic body to contest the bypoll.
Last week, Rutuja Latke approached the Bombay High Court which asked the civic body to accept her resignation.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)