Mumbai,Shailendra Paranjpe(dna): Former chief minister Narayan Rane has urged MLAs, MLCs and MPs from the party to work towards his victory in the Bandra East assembly segment by-elections to be held on April 11. His appeal came as most of the MLAs and MLCs had been finding excuses to avoid his campaign, with a majority saying they had to attend proceedings of the budget session in the respective Houses.
Rane addressed party workers and others at a meeting of Congress legislators held at Gandhi Bhavan in Nariman Point, which is the party's state headquarters. The meeting, called by leader of opposition in the state assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, was aimed at pulling all resources in an attempt to ensure Rane's victory in the by-polls.
The Bandra East constituency is going for by-elections necessitated after the demise of Shiv Sena MLA Prakash (Bala) Sawant. The Sena has fielded his widow Trupti Sawant. AIMIM has fielded Raja Rehbar Khan, who had contested against Bala Sawant and secured 24,000 votes. The Congress has given ticket to Rane and this is his battle and another chance at power, as he lost assembly elections from Kudal in Sindhudurg, which is his bastion.
The Sena has brought all its MLAs, MLCs and MPs to campaign in Bandra East as the constituency includes Matoshree, the residence of Thackerays, and it is a prestige election for the party. The 80,000-odd Muslim voters and presence of AIMIM candidate in the fray are the most crucial elements in this election, which is also why Rane has sought active participation from all Congress leaders for his victory.