6 Maharashtra Cong MLAs skip meeting amid speculation about more defections | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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6 Maharashtra Cong MLAs skip meeting amid speculation about more defections

Feb 15, 2024 02:51 PM IST

Three of the lawmakers are known to be close to former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who defected to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) this week

Six of the 43 Maharashtra Congress lawmakers skipped a legislative party meeting on Thursday amid speculation about more defections from the party ahead of the February 27 Rajya Sabha polls.

Former chief minister Ashok Chavan joined the BJP this week. (PTI)
Former chief minister Ashok Chavan joined the BJP this week. (PTI)

Three of them—Jitesh Antapurkar, Mohan Hambarde, and Madhavrao Pawar Jawalgaonkar—are known to be close to former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who defected to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) this week and was nominated as a Rajya Sabha candidate.

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Zeeshan Siddique, whose father Baba Siddique joined Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Aslam Shaikh and Sulabha Khodke, also skipped the meeting. The three were speculated to be on the verge of joining the NCP.

The Congress maintained only four lawmakers with prior permission stayed away from the meeting called before Chandrakant Handore filed his nomination for the Rajya Sabha election. It was an attempt to show the party’s remained intact after Chavan’s defection.

State Congress chief Nana Patole said all the party lawmakers will vote for the party nominee even as at least a dozen of them were believed to be in touch with Chavan, who insisted he has not asked any legislator to quit the party. Chavan was the third leader to quit the Congress since January after Siddiqui, Chavan, and Milind Deora.

A candidate needs 41 votes to win a Rajya Sabha seat. The BJP and the Independents supporting it can ensure its victory on three of the six seats. Chief minister Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena, Ajit Pawar-led NCP, and Congress can win one seat each going by the present strength in the House.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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