The Congress on Friday ended an impasse over its official nominees for the State Legislative Council elections. It has repeated one retiring member. Two are new, one of them a woman.
State unit general secretary Sanjay Dutt, who will complete his six-year term this month, has been given another chance. A Muslim face and party spokesperson Hussain Dalwai and Pune’s ex-mayor Dipti Chaudhari also got Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s approval.
The party has tried to please all sections of the voter base, as well as the numerous factions within the party. Dutt is a loyalist who spends more time in organisational work. Ex-minister Dalwai moved to the Congress from the Samajwadi Party seven years ago, then worked as the party’s state vice-president.
Chaudhari is a close confidant of Pune Member of Parliament Suresh Kalmadi. She belongs to the Other Backward Class’s Mali caste, which, despite its larger presence in the region, has inadequate representation in the Congress’s Legislature benches.
The Congress leadership did not declare the name of the fourth seat that it wants to contest in the polls to be held on June 7. Candidates for the Rajya Sabha polls to be held on June 17 will be declared later. The Congress is poised to contest two of the six RS seats that will be elected by State Legislative Assembly members, who will also vote in the Council polls.
The Congress is expected to join hands with its ally, the NCP, for the polls. The NCP is likely to field candidates for two Rajya Sabha seats and three Council seats. Speaking to HT, Dutt thanked Gandhi for giving him another chance. “I will use my tenure to raise issues of public interest, and to improve my party’s organisational strength.”