Former Congress legislator Sanjay Dutt who gave up his seat to facilitate chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s election to the state legislature last year, is unlikely to get the party’s nomination in the legislative council polls, scheduled to be held on July 27.
Of the 11 council members (MLCs), who will retire later this month, four are from the Congress. By virtue of its strength in the legislative sssembly which will vote in these elections, the Congress can get all of them elected. However, Dutt is likely to be ignored this time too, because senior Congress leaders, including two former chief ministers, are lobbying for their supporters and kin. He was overlooked in the past two elections as well.
Dutt had to quit last April when no other Congress legislator was willing to vacate his seat for Chavan.
Chavan, who replaced Ashok Chavan after the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society scam broke out, was sworn in on November 11, 2010, and was required to become a member of either House by May 10.
A senior Congress leader who did not wish to be named told HT that of the four retiring members, state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre will be nominated again. “Two other seats are claimed by ex-CMs Vilasrao Deshmukh and Narayan Rane (industry minister). Deshmukh wants another term for his friend Ulhas Pawar while Rane wants a nomination for his younger son Nitesh.”
The fourth Congress seat now held by SQ Zama is likely to go to a Muslim leader again. Zama, ex-MLA Anees Ahmed and ex-MLC Muzaffar Hussain have staked their claim. Of the other seats, the Nationalist Congress Party will contest three, the Bharatiya Janata Party two and Shiv Sena and the Peasants’ and Workers’ Party one each.
NCP’s Arun Gujrathi, Usha Darade and Preetamkumar Shegaonkar, who got the seat from NCP for the then ally Republic Party of India, will retire. BJP’s Keshav Mankar and Pasha Patel’s term too ends while Sena’s Parshuram Uparkar and PWP’s Jayant Patil are among others to complete their terms.