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BJP and Shiv Sena’s Shinde Faction Face Acid Test Over Andheri Assembly By-Election

The ruling alliance in Maharashtra between the BJP and the Shiv Sena’s Eknath Shinde faction, will face its first acid test over the Andheri assembly constituency by-election, due to be held after the monsoon.  The by-poll is caused due to the death of Shiv Sena’s Ramesh Latke, who was elected twice from this western suburb constituency. He died a few months ago. His wife Rujuta is desirous of contesting. She had called on Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray last week and is reported to have received a positive signal. While chief minister Eknath Shinde is yet to make any statement about the by-election, the BJP is likely to consider the candidature of its erstwhile corporator Murjibhai Patel, who had been trounced by Latke in 2019. At that time, the constituency was allotted to the unified Sena under the BJP-Sena seat sharing pact. Still, Patel had entered the fray as an independent. He was said to have BJP’s tacit blessings. As the petitions of the two Sena factions are embroiled in legal cases, the BJP wishes to claim this prestigious seat. On the other hand, Shinde wants to record his faction’s first grand electoral victory by snatching away the seat from Uddhav. Taking any decision either way is going to prove an acid test for the ruling alliance.