Maharashtra MLC poll results: Setback for BJP; big boost for MVA

Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, which passed through Vidarbha last year, created enthusiasm among people for the party ahead of the Council polls.

Maharashtra, Shiv Sena, Congress, NCP, Sharad Pawar, Rahul Gandhi, Uddhav Thackeray
Leaders of the MVA, Sharad Pawar (NCP), Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena) and Balasaheb Thorat (Congress). File photo: PTI

The ruling Bharatiya Janta Party-Balasahebnachi Shiv Sena alliance suffered a jolt as the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) won three of the five Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) seats. One of the victories was from Nagpur, the hometown of Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Nitin Gadkari.

While the results are a big setback for the BJP, the MVA – comprising the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) – has received a huge boost ahead of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections.

These were the first MLC polls after the Eknath Shinde-led government took charge in June last year. However, rival Shiv Sena factions (led by Chief Minister Shinde and former CM Uddhav Thackeray) were not in the fray directly.

Also read: Sharad Pawar warned Uddhav about Sena rebellion, reveals Ajit Pawar


Voting for biennial elections to five Council seats – three teachers segments (falling in Nagpur, Konkan and Aurangabad divisions) and two graduates constituencies (Nashik and Amravati divisions) were held on January 30.

Teachers and graduates fulfilling certain criteria and enrolled as voters formed the electoral college for these elections.

No candidate was fielded by either of the Shiv Sena factions in the elections held to fill up five vacancies in the Upper House of the state legislature.

Congress wins in Amravati

The Congress won the Amravati division graduates constituency on Friday (February 3). The party’s candidate Dhiraj Lingade won the seat, where counting started on Thursday morning and stretched to more than 32 hours and went on till late Friday afternoon, by defeating sitting legislator Ranjit Patil of the BJP. Thus, the Congress has snatched the seat from the BJP.

Also read: Betrayal, defections defamed Maharashtra, Sena: Uddhav

In Amravati, Congress nominee Lingade bagged 46,344 votes, while BJP candidate and sitting MLC Patil secured 42,962 ballots, an official said.

MVA-backed contestant Sudhakar Adbale and NCP candidate Vikrant Kale registered victory from Nagpur and Aurangabad teachers’ constituencies, respectively.

In Nagpur, Adbale trumped BJP-supported candidate Nagorao Ganar.

BJP candidate Dyaneshwar Mhatre won the Konkan division teachers constituency, while Congress rebel Satyajit Tambe, who revolted against the party ahead of polls, won as an independent from the Nashik division graduates seat.

Also read: Maharashtra civic polls: Big setback for Uddhav after Shinde breakaway

Satyajit Tambe defeated his nearest rival, independent candidate Shubhangi Patil, who was supported by the MVA, by 29,465 votes.

Did Old Pension Scheme promise work for MVA?

Assessing the MLC poll results, the BJP feels it should have changed the candidates and also added that the Opposition’s promise to restore the Old Pension Scheme worked in their favour.

According to a report in Indian Express, party insiders said, “We took our supporters among teachers and graduates for granted. Also, we should have changed our candidates. Thirdly, social engineering among various communities within the teachers’ and graduates’ constituencies was overlooked. Fourthly, the offer to restore the Old Pension Scheme worked in the Opposition’s favour.”

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For Fadnavis, it is time for “serious” introspection to find out where the saffron party went wrong. “The defeats in Nagpur and Amravati have saddened us. We’ll have to find out where we failed. We’ll do serious introspection and make course corrections,” he said.

‘Ruling party’s house will crumble’

Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole said the MLC polls have shown the BJP “who is the king”, indicating voters are supreme, and maintained the ruling party’s “house will crumble”.

He said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, which passed through Vidarbha last year, created enthusiasm among people for the party ahead of the Council polls.

“Vidarbha has remained with the Congress. We (in the past) were hit by wrong coordination and planning. This time everyone worked together and fought this war,” Patole said.

“Be it Amravati or the Nagpur division, because of the trouble from BJP leaders (an apparent reference to Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis), many BJP leaders have helped us. You see how their house will crumble,” said the MPCC president.

Also read: Modi sounds poll bugle for BMC polls, targets Uddhav faction for ‘hampering’ Mumbai’s development

Buoyed by the victory, Maharashtra NCP president Jayant Patil said MVA candidates have won with huge margins which indicate the prevailing political mood in the state.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said the BJP’s defeat in Vidarbha (where Nagpur and Amravati are located) shows people in the region are “fed up” with the party.

Of the Upper House seats which went to polls, Nashik was held by Congress’ Sudhir Tambe (father of Satyajit Tambe), Nagpur by independent candidate Nagorao Ganar, Aurangabad by NCP’s Vikram Kale, Konkan by independent candidate Balaram Patil and Amravati by BJP’s Ranjit Patil.

Tambe father-son duo

Patole said he still thinks the Tambe father-son betrayed the party.

While Sudhir Tambe, the party’s official candidate, had opted out on the last day of filing nomination, his son Satyajit submitted his papers as an independent. The Congress later suspended the father-son duo.

Patole claimed the BJP had a role in Satyajit Tambe’s rebellion. The BJP had backed Tambe at the last minute in the MLC polls.

“You have taken our one legislator. We have planned a strategy to win 50 legislators from the Nashik division,” the Congress leader said.

After the last MLC polls held in June 2022, a group of 39 Shiv Sena MLAs led by Shinde, then a Cabinet minister, had rebelled against the party leadership, resulting in the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-headed MVA government.

Saamna attacks ruling alliance

Attacking the Shine government after the MLC poll results, Shiv Sena (UBT) said education people had rejected the ruling BJP-Shinde alliance.

The party’s mouthpiece Saamna, in an editorial, said, “The result of the election of the five Legislative Council seats of the state is the mandate of people of Maharashtra. BJP got only one seat out of five. The BJP-Shinde alliance was defeated. These results will put a brake on the falsity of the Fadnavis-Shinde government.”

(With agency inputs)