Shiv Sena’s huge victory in the Dadra & Nagar Haveli (ST) parliamentary by-election – the party’s first outside Maharashtra – was scripted by its spokesperson, Rajya Sabha member and journalist, Sanjay Raut, according to sources.
The party nominee Kalaben Delkar, the wife of the Independent MP, the late Mohan Delkar, won the bypoll on Tuesday with a margin of 51,269 votes by defeating her nearest BJP rival Mahesh Gavit.
The by-poll was necessitated after Mohan Delkar’s alleged suicide in a Mumbai hotel earlier this year.
Kalaben is the third member of the influential Delkar family to be elected as MP from the Union Territory. Mohan Delkar had won the seat seven times during his political career, in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2019; his father Sanjibhai Delkar was the first MP from the UT, which was established in 1967.
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Following Mohan Delkar’s death, there was speculation that Kalaben and her son Abhinav would join the BJP, as the party is virtually unassailable in nearby Gujarat and has considerable presence in the UT.
However, the sources said Raut worked tirelessly to bring them into the Shiv Sena fold and camped in the UT for several weeks before the election.
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Following the victory Maharashtra Environment Minister and son of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Aaditya, Thackeray, congratulated Kalaben and acknowledged Raut’s role. “A special mention for the resolve of Smt Kalaben Delkar ji to contest the elections and win so as to give voice to her constituency. And of course, to Sanjay Raut ji’s efforts with Anil Desai ji, Abhinav Delkar and all those who campaigned for the Shiv Sena in the elections,” Aaditya tweeted.
First step outside Maharashtra, giant leap towards Delhi via Dadra Nagar Haveli ! #ChaloDelhi pic.twitter.com/8sbqBgSbna
— Sanjay Raut (@rautsanjay61) November 2, 2021
“First step outside Maharashtra, a giant leap towards Delhi via Dadra Nagar Haveli!” Raut tweeted soon after the results were announced.
“This win is significant. We have won many elections and lost many too. But outside Maharashtra, this is our first win. We had tried very hard to go beyond Maharashtra and we needed one win. This is the biggest win in the history of Dadra & Nagar Haveli as the margin is over 50,000,” the executive editor of Saamana, the Sena’s mouthpiece, said.