Congress-backed Independent Trounces Shiv Sena in Maharashtra Council Polls

Mumbai, Jun 11 : In a major upset, a Congress-backed Independent candidate trounced a Shiv Sena nominee in the biennial elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council, the results of which were announced late Thursday evening.

Nine candidates of four major political parties also won.

Vijay Sawant, supported by the Congress, won largely due to help from Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and Independents.

Though Sawant trailed in the earlier rounds of counting and the Shiv Sena had already started celebrating the victory of its two candidates, in the subsequent rounds of counting, party candidate Anil Parab lost.

Parab, who controls a large part of Mumbai's cable TV business, is a close confidante of Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray.

Besides Sawant - handpicked by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan - three candidates each from the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) two from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one from the Shiv Sena were elected.

Those elected from the ruling Democratic Front are Hussain Dalwai, Dipti Choudhary and Sanjay Dutt of the Congress; and Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar, Prakash Binsale and Vinayak Mete of the NCP.

From the opposition side, the three elected are Dhananjay Munde and Shobhatai Phadnavis of the BJP and Diwakar Raote of the Sena.

In the 288-member legislative assembly, which comprises the electoral college for the council elections, the Congress has 82 legislators, the NCP 62, the BJP 46 and the Shiv Sen 45.

Among the smaller parties, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has 13 legislators, the Peasents and Workers Party four, the Samajwadi Party three, the Jan Surajya Party and Bahujan Vikas Aghadi two each, and one each from the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Lok Sangram, the Rashtriya Samaj Party and the Swabhiman Party.

Besides, there are 24 independents and one nominated member in the house.

The elections were necessitated by the retirement of 10 members July 7.

Soon after the results were announced, Chavan expressed satisfaction over the outcome and attributed it to the pro-people policies pursued by the party and the government.


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Title: Congress-backed Independent Trounces Shiv Sena in Maharashtra Council Polls

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