Mumbai: In a surprise move that could spark political debate, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday withdrew the candidature of Vijaya Rahatkar as its fourth nominee for the Rajya Sabha elections from Maharashtra. The party had filed nomination of Rahatkar, the National President BJP Mahila Morcha, as its fourth candidate. The face saving move comes after Shiv Sena refused to give its extra votes to BJP.
The Rajya Sabha elections are scheduled to be held on on March 23, 2018.
The BJP had fielded four candidates including Rahatkar, who is also Chairman of Maharashtra State Women’s Commission, while Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena have fielded one each.
Although the BJP did not have enough votes for its fourth candidate to sail through the elections but still the party had asked Rahatkar to be its fourth candidate on Monday. The BJP was banking on the Shiv Sena’s extra 20 votes to sail through the fourth candidate. The party had to step back by dropping out Rahatkar from the election race.
According to a senior BJP MLA, Shiv Sena reportedly refused to give its additional votes to BJP. It was their opinion that the votes for any BJP candidate would send a wrong signal to its cadre as Narayan Rane too is contesting on a BJP ticket.