Undeterred by the defeat of its candidate at the hands of the BJP in a bitterly contested Rajya Sabha polls last week, the Shiv Sena on Monday said those who are thinking that the result has made the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra unstable are living in a fool's paradise.
In an editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana', the MVA lead party, in a rare move, praised BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis for his "cleverness and astute poll management", but said luck also played a role as the election was dragged to second round which saw BJP's Dhananjay Mahadik trounce Shiv Sena candidate Sanjay Pawar for the sixth seat in the June 10 polls to the Upper House of Parliament.
The party pointed out that said while Shiv Sena candidate Mr Pawar secured 33 votes in the first round of preferential votes, Mr Mahadik secured only 27.
Mr Fadnavis, a former CM, is widely credited for his election management that ensured Dhananjay Mahadik's win on the back of support from independents and MLAs from smaller parties.
Seven candidates were in the fray for six Rajya Sabha seats in the state. All three candidates of the opposition BJP won -- Union minister Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde and Mr Mahadik. The Shiv Sena (Sanjay Raut), the Congress (Imran Pratapgarhi) and the NCP (Praful Patel) bagged one seat each.
"Those thinking that the Rajya Sabha polls has made the Maha Vikas Aghadi government unstable are living in a fool's paradise," the editorial said.
It said during the polls, the votes of the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress, all constituents of the ruling alliance, remained intact, and it was smaller parties that did not vote for the MVA candidates.
The Shiv Sena also took a dig at its former ally BJP, saying the win was not a feat like the "Sun rising in the west or an ant swallowing a mountain".
Calling the functioning of the Election Commission "an attack from Delhi", the Shiv Sena publication questioned the poll body's credibility when its officials in the state had discarded the BJP's objections to consider invalid the votes of MVA ministers Yashomati Thakur and Jitendra Awhad and Sena MLA Suhas Kande for violating norms.
The MVA had also challenged before the Election Commission the votes cast by independent MLA Ravi Rana and BJP's Sudhir Mungantiwar on the same ground.
However, MLA Suhas Kande's vote was declared invalid by the EC.
"The way central agencies were used to win the polls by the BJP was not a good sign for democracy in the country," the editorial said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)