12 Shiv Sena MLAs in contact with BJP in Maharashtra: Ex-minister Babanrao Lonikar

BJP leader and former Maharashtra minister Babanrao Lonikar on Friday claimed 12 MLAs of the ruling Shiv Sena are in contact with his party and predicted a “change” in the state.

The Shiv Sena, which heads the three-party MVA government in the state, rubbished Lonikar’s claim and said the opposition BJP was “daydreaming” of coming to power in the state.

Lonikar was speaking at a rally organised in support of Subhash Sabne, the BJP candidate for the October 30 bypoll from the Deglur assembly seat in Nanded district.

Union minister and BJP leader Raosaheb Danve and his party colleague Ashish Shelar were also in Deglur to campaign for Sabne, who recently joined the main opposition party in the state after leaving the Shiv Sena.

Sabne had represented Deglur and Mukhed constituencies in his previous three terms as an MLA. Lonikar said, ‘If a change has to occur in the state of Maharashtra,… in the present government, then voters should make BJP candidate Subhash Sabne victorious. Magic (change) will take place in the state.

Twelve MLAs of the Shiv Sena are in contact with the BJP.” Asked about Lonikar’s comments, Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said in Mumbai there was no truth in his claim.

“The BJP is daydreaming of coming to power in the state. They are daydreaming even after their tally came down in the just held bypolls to more than 80 Zilla Parishad seats in half-a-dozen districts,” she said.

Speaking at the rally, Shelar, a former minister, said, “This by-election is a fight between financial power and public power.”

The BJP and the Shiv Sena parted ways in November 2019 over differences on sharing power after the assembly polls. The Shiv Sena then joined hands with the Congress and the NCP to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

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