The Congress on Saturday announced its decision to nominate Hussain Dalwai as its candidate for the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Maharashtra vacated by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
Dalwai, a socialist leader and former state president of the Samajwadi Party, beat party loyalists and senior leaders such as Shivraj Patil and Rohidas Patil for the post.
The name of Dalwai was announced by Maharashtra party incharge Mohan Prakash.
Dalwai, a Konkani Muslim from Ratnagiri, has a socialist background and headed the Samajwadi Party in the state before joining the Congress camp in 1999.
His brother, the late Hussain Dalwai, was a well known social reformer.
Dalwai was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Council in 2010.
Manikrao Thakre and Prakash had been holding discussions with senior party leaders as to who should fill in the seat vacated by Chavan.
Leaders such Patil, former NABARD chairman YSP Thorat, who have been waiting in the sidelines, were being pitched as the front runners for the Rajya Sabha seat.
The seat had fallen vacant after Chavan resigned after taking over as the CM.
The election for the seat is scheduled on July 22 and nominations have to be filed by July 12.
The party has decided to nominate Sunil Dutt for the Legislative Council seat that will be vacated after Dalwai resigns. Dutt had given up his seat for Chavan.