Shinde, Ajit denied seats in old bastions | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Shinde, Ajit denied seats in old bastions

ByHT CorrespondentHT Correspondent
Apr 21, 2024 07:42 AM IST

Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar too has failed to get more than two seats in western Maharashtra, an NCP stronghold. Factions led by Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar see this as an opportunity, as the election symbol they lost to the rebels will not be in the fray in these constituencies

MUMBAI: As the ruling alliance parties stand within a hair’s breadth of finalising the seat-sharing formula, it is clear that both the Shiv Sena led by CM Eknath Shinde and the NCP helmed by deputy CM Ajit Pawar have failed to get sufficient seats in their traditional strongholds.

Pune, Apr 18 (ANI): Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, State Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale and others hold hands during a public meeting prior to nomination filing of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate from Baramati seat Sunetra Pawar for the Lok Sabha elections, in Pune on Thursday. (ANI Photo) (Nitin Lawate)
Pune, Apr 18 (ANI): Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, State Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale and others hold hands during a public meeting prior to nomination filing of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate from Baramati seat Sunetra Pawar for the Lok Sabha elections, in Pune on Thursday. (ANI Photo) (Nitin Lawate)

Take the Shiv Sena bastion, Konkan. When the party emerged as a contender for power in 1990 and later won power in 1995, it was the coastal Konkan region that contributed significantly to its victory. After the split, while Uddhav Thackeray has been harping on the goodwill and sympathy for the Thackeray family among traditional Sena voters in these elections, Eknath Shinde’s breakaway faction, which claims to be the original Shiv Sena, is contesting fewer seats and is absent from the electoral fray from Raigad to Sindhudurg.

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Deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar too has failed to get more than two seats in western Maharashtra, an NCP stronghold. Factions led by Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar see this as an opportunity, as the election symbol they lost to the rebels will not be in the fray in these constituencies.

There are certain areas where both the Shiv Sena as well as the NCP held on to their support base even during adverse conditions. For the Shiv Sena, it has been Konkan, parts of Mumbai and Mumbai metropolitan region and pockets in Marathwada or central Maharashtra. In the case of the Pawar- founded NCP, it was a large chunk of western Maharashtra and a few pockets in Konkan, North Maharashtra and Marathwada.

In 2019, Shiv Sena won three seats in Mumbai apart from Thane, Kalyan, Palghar, Raigad and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg. This time, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) has fielded candidates in all these constituencies while Shinde has conceded Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg and Raigad to his allies. The ruling alliance is yet to decide on candidates in three constituencies—Thane, Kalyan and Palghar.

In Konkan, Thackeray has fielded candidates in both the constituencies—sitting MP Vinayak Raut in Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg and Anant Geete in Raigad. In the ruling alliance, Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg has gone to the BJP, which has fielded union minister Narayan Rane. The NCP will contest Raigad, as its state president Sunil Tatkare is the sitting MP from the constituency. The only solace for the Shinde-led Sena is the Maval constituency, which has three assembly segments of Raigad district. It has fielded sitting MP Shrirang Barne opposite Shiv Sena (UBT) nominee Sanjog Waghere. In Marathwada, Shinde’s Sena has conceded Parbhani to the Ajit Pawar-led NCP at the insistence of the BJP.

Things are similar for the NCP, which was expecting seven to eight Lok Sabha seats but managed to get only Baramati and Shirur in its bastion of western Maharashtra. It has fielded candidates from Raigad and Osmanabad; it had also got Parbhani but had to hand it over to Dhangar community leader Mahadev Jankar at the insistence of the BJP.

“The NCP has always been known as the party with a strong base in western Maharashtra,” said a senior NCP minister, who was unhappy with the seats the party was given in the seat-sharing pact. “We should have contested Satara and one more seat in the region. The Sharad Pawar-led NCP is contesting Baramati, Shirur, Satara and Madha and if it wins most of these seats, its leaders can always claim that the base of the party has remained with them. This will affect our prospects in the assembly elections six months later. We spoke to Ajitdada (Pawar). He agreed with us but said this was not the time to raise such an issue, and the party could be compensated in the assembly elections.”

Mumbai-based political analyst Padmabhushan Deshpande said that the general expectation had been that the rival factions of the Shiv Sena and NCP would battle it out in their strongholds while the BJP would focus on retaining its traditional seats. “However, it looks like the BJP had a different strategy while working out the seat-sharing plan,” he said. “It remains to be seen if it will work. As of now, it looks like the factions led by Sharad Pawar and Uddhav Thackeray could do better than the rebels.”

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