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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

Congress clears 104 names for Maharashtra assembly polls

Out of the 288 seats in the state, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are contesting 125 each leaving 40 for smaller parties, including the Samajwadi Party, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana of Raju Shetti and the Communist Party of India (CPI).

india Updated: Sep 20, 2019 08:23 IST
State party chief Balasaheb Thorat with Rahul Gandhi.
State party chief Balasaheb Thorat with Rahul Gandhi.(HT FILE)
         

Two former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan and state party chief Balasaheb Thorat are among senior Congress leaders whose names have been cleared as candidates by the party’s poll panel for the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra.

A Congress functionary familiar with the development said the screening committee tasked with shortlisting the candidates has so far cleared 104 names.

Out of the 288 seats in the state, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are contesting 125 each leaving 40 for smaller parties, including the Samajwadi Party, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana of Raju Shetti and the Communist Party of India (CPI).

Congress leaders have also ruled out any tie-up with the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), saying its chief Prakash Ambedkar has made an “unacceptable and unreasonable” demand seeking the termination of the party’s long-standing alliance with the NCP.

The ruling alliance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena are yet to firm up their seat-sharing arrangement.

Apart from two former chief ministers and Thorat, the names of Congress legislative party (CLP) leader KC Padavi and leader of opposition Vijay Namdevrao Wadettiwar have also been approved.

However, many senior leaders including Sushil Kumar Shinde, Milind Deora, Sanjay Nirupam and Nana Patole may not be considered for the assembly elections.

Both the Congress and the NCP have been hit by desertions with senior leaders from both the parties defecting to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena in the run-up to the elections.

Last week, NCP’s Lok Sabha member from Satara Udyanraje Bhosale, a descendant of Maratha warrior king Shivaji, and senior Congress leader and former state minister Harshvardhan Patil joined the BJP.

Another Congress leader said the party’s first list of candidates would be out soon after the election commission announces the poll dates for Maharashtra.

The Congress and the NCP contested the 2014 assembly polls separately after sharing power for 15 consecutive years. The alliance came apart after a disagreement over seat sharing.

The Congress won 42 of the 288 assembly seats while the NCP won 41. The BJP won 122 and the Shiv Sena, which also fought separately, 63 seats.

In the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the Congress managed to win just one Lok Sabha seat with the NCP winning four. The BJP won 23 seats and the Shiv Sena 18.

On Thursday, the Congress assigned different regions of the state to senior leaders for better election management. While Mukul Wasnik will look after Vidarbha, Avinash Pande has been assigned Mumbai region. Similarly, Rajni Patil will be in-charge of Western and Konkan regions, RC Khuntia will look after northern Maharashtra and Rajeev Satav Marathwada.

First Published: Sep 20, 2019 00:07 IST

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