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Raj Thackeray requests Devendra Fadnavis to not contest Andheri East bypoll against Uddhav Sena candidate, the Dy CM says he can’t decide it alone

Raj Thackeray requested Devendra Fadnavis that as the late MLA's wife is contesting from the seat, the ruling alliance should not contest the bypolls.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray wrote a letter to Devendra Fadnavis on 16th October 2022 suggesting BJP back out from the Andheri east by-poll. The Andheri east assembly seat is vacant as Shiv Sena’s elected representative from that constituency Ramesh Latke passed away. Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray faction) has fielded Latke’s wife Rujuta Latke from the seat in the upcoming by-election. Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Murji Patel from this seat. Raj Thackeray requested Fadnavis that as the late MLA’s wife is contesting from the seat, the ruling alliance should not contest the bypolls.

In his letter, Raj Thackeray said, “I am writing this letter with a special request. After the sudden death of MLA, Ramesh Latke, for the Andher- East, the by-poll election has been announced. His widow, Rujuta Latke has filed in for candidature for the same. Shri. Ramesh was an efficient worker who began his journey up from being a ‘shakha-pramukh’ I have witnessed his journey and growth in the political arena. After his death, to see his wife become an MLA in his constituency; will be a solace to his departed soul.”

He further wrote in the letter, “I sincerely request you to not enter this by-poll election and put a candidate against Rujuta Latke. Whenever, there has been a situation, wherein a sitting MLA has passed away and a family member has filed for their candidature, our party has refrained from fighting the by-poll. This is our way of paying our reverence to the departed soul. I appeal to you with these sentiments in mind. Sentiments such as these are a part of our Maharashtra culture. I hope you will consider my appeal.”

However, Devendra Fadnavis has rejected the appeal, saying he alone does not the authority to decide on the candidate of the party for the polls. When asked about his reaction to Raj Thackeray’s letter, Maharashtra’s deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “I cannot take decisions alone in the BJP. If I want to take a decision on Raj Thackeray’s letter, I will have to discuss it with party colleagues and senior leaders. Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) is also with us. So I have to discuss this with Eknath Shinde also.”

Devendra Fadnavis added, “Raj Thackeray has written this letter in good spirit. We will definitely consider his letter. Even in the past, be it the by-election at the time of RR Patil’s demise or the recent legislative council elections, whenever we were requested like this, we have taken a decision. However, I will have to discuss in the party when we have already fielded a candidate in this election. Only then can the right decision be taken.”

Prasad Lad is the spokesperson of the state unit of the BJP. He said, “We respect Raj Thackeray. This could be Raj Thackeray’s personal opinion or his party’s opinion. The party leadership Devendra Fadnavis and Ashish Shelar will take a decision on this. In what spirit did he write the letter? We don’t know about it. There was no discussion on this issue. Nevertheless, it will be decided by the party leadership and the party leaders.”

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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