After the five-party Mahayuti's resounding victory in the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has set its sights on the state legislative council polls in five constituencies set for June 20.
The BJP, which holds three of these five seats from graduates and teachers constituencies, is looking to the anti-incumbency factor and Narendra Modi wave to see it through.
The five constituencies are: Nagpur graduates (Nitin Gadkari-BJP), Pune graduates (Chandrakantdada Patil-BJP), Aurangabad graduates (Satish Chavan-NCP), Pune teachers (Bhagwanrao Salunkhe-BJP affiliated) and Amravati teachers (Vasantrao Khotre-Congress affiliated).
The Congress and NCP have decided to contest the polls together. Congress will break convention to put up candidates officially on behalf of the party, and will contest from Nagpur graduates, Pune teachers and Amravati teachers constituencies, leaving the rest to NCP.
Gadkari, who was elected to Lok Sabha from Nagpur, has been representing Nagpur graduates constituency from 1988. It's a traditional saffron bastion and has elected stalwarts like Gangadharrao Fadnavis. In 2008, Gadkari defeated Babanrao Taywade of Congress. Nagpur mayor Prof Anil Sole will replace Gadkari this time. Former IAS officer Kishor Gajbhiye is also contesting from this constituency, which covers six districts.
In Pune graduates constituency, BJP's Patil claimed he was confident of victory. "Modi's landslide victory will help us. We are also projecting issues concerning graduates, teachers and youth," he added. Patil defeated Rajesh Patil Vatharkar of NCP, and then MLC Prof Sharad Patil of Janata Dal (Secular), in 2008.
In 2002, Sharad Patil, a former MLA from Miraj defeated two-term BJP MLC Prakash Jawadekar.
BJP is also preparing to wrest the Aurangabad seat from NCP's Satish Chavan, who defeated BJP MLC Shrikant Joshi in 2008.
However, Congress spokesperson Ratnakar Mahajan said the party's winning chances had been bolstered on account of the alliance with NCP. "To prevent vote division, Congress and NCP have entered into a seat sharing pact.," said Mahajan.
The Congress-NCP-led government will also have to take a decision on nominating 12 Governor-nominated members to the upper house, as Mohan Joshi, Alka Desai, Subhash Chavan, MM Shaikh, Suresh Navale and Charansingh Sapra (Cong) and Ram Pandagale, Vidya Chavan, Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, Ramesh Shendage, Fauzia Khan and Sumantrao Gaikwad (NCP) retired in March.
A decision on this has to be taken before June 2, when the budget session begins.