In a sudden twist to the Rajya Sabha polls tale, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday stepped in to play trouble shooter for his party and got Pune-based builder Sanjay Kakade to withdraw his nomination as an independent candidate.
With Kakade out of the picture, the Rajya Sabha polls will be unopposed and a straight forward affair now. Pawar also said that his party’s third candidate, MLC Prakash Binsale would withdraw his nomination. This will leave six candidates for six Rajya Sabha seats with Congress fielding two, NCP two and BJP and Sena one each.
In a dramatic turn of events that were played out before the media, Kakade accompanied Pawar at a media briefing to announce his withdrawal. He also went ahead to sign the withdrawal papers offered to him at the venue by NCP legislator Jitendra Awhad.
“I never wanted to contest elections against NCP or go against Pawar. So when NCP fielded their official candidates, I decided to withdraw. I did not want any infighting in Maharashtra. The legislators who supported me will support NCP,” said Kakade.
Declaring his loyalty to Pawar, Kakade insisted that he would never have gone ahead without Pawar’s blessings. “I have not been offered any MLC seat or anything else for this.’’
Kakade left the media briefing after signing the withdrawal papers. Pawar told the media that there had been a trend to have unopposed Rajya Sabha polls and he did not want this trend to get derailed in Maharashtra.
Kakade, owner of Kakade Builders, from Pune, filed his nominations last week and declared assets worth Rs350 crore is regarded to be close to deputy CM Ajit Pawar. Sources said that he had been vying for a Rajya Sabha seat for some time and was upset with the party’s official candidate former mayor of Pune Vandana Chavan.