Undaunted by the BJP's defeat of its candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections last week, the Shiv Sena
said on Monday that those who believe the result has made Maharashtra's Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government unstable are living in a fool's paradise. In an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana,' the MVA lead party praised BJP
leader Devendra Fadnavis for his "cleverness and astute poll management," but said luck also played a role as the election was dragged to a second round, where BJP's Dhananjay Mahadik defeated Sena candidate Sanjay Pawar for the sixth seat in the Upper House of Parliament on June 10.
According to the party, while Sena candidate Pawar received 33 votes in the first round of preferential voting, Mahadik received only 27 votes. Former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is widely credited with election management that ensured Mahadik's victory on the back of support from independents and MLAs from smaller parties. Seven candidates ran for the state's six Rajya Sabha seats. The opposition BJP's three candidates, Union Minister Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde, and Mahadik, all won. The Sena (Sanjay Raut), Congress (Imran Pratapgarhi), and NCP (Praful Patel) each received one seat.
"Those who believe that the Rajya Sabha elections have rendered the Maha Vikas Aghadi government insecure are living in a fool's paradise," the editorial concluded. During the election, it was stated that the votes of the Sena, NCP
, and Congress
, all constituents of the ruling alliance, remained intact and that smaller parties did not vote for MVA candidates. The Shiv Sena also slammed its former ally, the BJP, saying the victory was not comparable to the "Sun rising in the west or an ant swallowing a mountain."
The Sena publication questioned the Election Commission's credibility after its officials in the state rejected the BJP's objections to declaring invalid the votes of MVA ministers Yashomati Thakur and Jitendra Awhad, as well as Sena MLA Suhas Kande, for violating norms.
The MVA had also challenged the votes cast by independent MLA Ravi Rana and BJP's Sudhir Mungantiwar before the Election Commission on the same grounds. The EC, however, declared Kande's vote invalid. "The way the BJP used central agencies to win elections was not a good sign for democracy in the country," the editorial said.