Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ramraje Nimbalkar, who had to resign from the Cabinet last month because he was not a member of the state Legislature, could return to Mantralaya in June.
The NCP on Saturday named Nimbalkar and two others, Vinayak Mete and Prakash Binsale, as its nominees for the June 10 Legislative Council polls.
The party also declared the candidatures of national general secretary Tariq Anwar and industrialist Ishwarlal Jain for the June 17 Rajya Sabha elections. Members of the state Legislative Assembly will vote in both elections. Allies NCP and Congress will contest the polls together.
Candidates of all major parties will get elected unopposed if nominations do not exceed the number of seats that go to polls. The contest is for six Rajya Sabha seats and 10 Legislative Council seats.
The Congress is yet to finalise names for the two Rajya Sabha seats.
Nimbalkar did not contest in the 2009 Assembly polls because he had lost his constituency to delimitation. In the Lok Sabha polls, he had to vacate the Madha seat for NCP president Sharad Pawar. Nimbalkar was Pawar’s campaign manager.
Pawar made Nimbalkar a Cabinet minister in November but Nimbalkar could not become a member of either legislative house in six months and had to resign.
Pawar also rehabilitated Mete, an ex-Member of Legislative Council. A controversial leader, who has been agitating for reservation for Marathas, Mete was sacked as NCP vice-president when his men attacked Loksatta Editor Kumar Ketkar’s house two years ago. He was inducted into the party ahead of the 2009 polls.
Party spokesperson Binsale’s candidature surprised many because senior leaders were contending for this seat. But Pawar has rewarded him for his organisational skills.
Anwar’s candidature for Rajya Sabha was certain. He is Pawar’s long-time associate and a founder member of the NCP.
Pawar also fulfilled his friend Ishwarlal Jain’s wish of getting a ticket to Parliament. Jain hails from Jalgaon and heads a huge corporate empire.