Thackeray. Photo: PTI
Mumbai: The Congress and the NCP on Monday extended their support to the candidate picked by Uddhav Thackeray for the upcoming Andheri (East) Assembly byelection, making it a contest between the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and the ruling BJP-Eknath Shinde alliance.
The factions led by Thackeray and Chief Minister Shinde cannot use the name 'Shiv Sena' and the party symbol- 'bow and arrow- for the bypoll, as per the interim order of the Election Commission.
Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole met Thackeray earlier in the day.
Senior Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab said Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party have decided to support Sena's candidate Rutuja Latke for the November 3 contest.
“The Andheri assembly byelection will be contested jointly by all the three parties of MVA. Congress and the NCP have decided to support our candidate,” Parab, flanked by Mumbai Congress chief Bhai Jagtap and NCP leader Rakhi Jadhav, told reporters.
The MVA was formed after the 2019 Maharashtra elections after Shiv Sena, NCP, and Congress joined hands to deny BJP another term.
The bypoll will be held against the backdrop of the vertical split in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena in June this year and the ensuing court battle between the two factions.
“In the past, Shiv Sena has extended its support to respective candidates of Congress and the NCP in the previous bye-elections. Shiv Sena's Ramesh Latke had won the 2019 assembly elections from Andheri (East), thus we have decided to field his wife in this election,” Parab said.
Murji Patel is likely to be the nominee of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Shinde faction, which shares power with BJP in the state, has yet to clarify its position on contesting the bypoll, necessitated by the death of Ramesh Latke.
On Saturday, the Election Commission froze Shiv Sena's "bow and arrow" poll symbol and barred the factions led by Thackeray and Shinde from using the name of the party in view of the bypoll.
On Monday, the EC allotted ‘flaming torch' (mashaal) as the election symbol to the Thackeray faction and ‘ShivSena - Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray' as the party name.
The poll body allotted ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena' (Balasaheb's Shiv Sena) name for the Eknath Shinde group of the party.