Munde's estranged nephew wins by-poll on NCP ticket

Mumbai, Sep 2 (IANS) In an embarrassment to senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, his estranged nephew Dhananjay Munde was re-elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Council on NCP ticket here Monday.

Dhananjay Munde, who quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) this year, also resigned from the upper house to join the Nationalist Congress Party.

The NCP and the Congress backed his candidature in the by-poll to the upper house seat, necessitated by his own resignation.

Given the comfortable strength enjoyed by the ruling alliance in the legislature, Dhananjay Munde was expected to win easily.

However, in the run-up to the elections, Gopinath Munde had expressed hopes that the legislators would not vote on party lines but "as per their conscience".

Dhananjay Munde secured 165 votes to trounce Prithviraj Kakade, son of a veteran leader Sambhajirao Kakade and a long-time detractor of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

Kakade stood as an independent supported by the BJP-Shiv Sena combine but secured only 106 votes and failed to make it to the legislature.

Dhananjay Munde later indicated that if the NCP leadership desired, he would be open to contesting against his uncle in any future election.

"I shall carry out any responsibility the (NCP) party gives me to be best of my abilities," he asserted.

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