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Old allies, new faces

Coalition partners, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party, hope that new and young faces would benefit it in the October 13 Assembly polls, reports Dharmendra Jore.

india Updated: Sep 24, 2009 02:18 IST
Dharmendra Jore
Dharmendra Jore
Hindustan Times

Coalition partners, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), hope that new and young faces would benefit it in the October 13 Assembly polls.

The lists of candidates—159 of the Congress and 81 of the NCP--show that the parties have decided to field more than 40 per cent fresh faces in the elections. These polls are crucial for the allies hoping to beat the anti-incumbency factor.

The Congress will contest 174 seats out of the 288 seats and the NCP, 114. The names of Amit Deshmukh, elder son of Union heavy Industries minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Praniti, younger daughter of Union power minister Sushilkumar Shinde are expected to be announced later.

Congress’ Mumbai list of 28 (of the 29) has 13 new faces. “In choosing our candidates, we have struck a balance between communities, especially minorities (Muslims, Christians and Jains), other backward classes, backward classes and women,” said Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh, the party’s contestant from Kalina.

NCP spokesperson Madan Bafna said his party’s list was fair. “We have 23 new candidates who will give our opponents a run for their money.”

The parties have also included names of some influential veterans and leaders who have been members of the Assembly for at least three terms.

Some controversial candidates have also been included. From the Congress camp, Transport Minister Surupsinh Naik who, following a brief jail term in a forest row, has been cleared because of his clout in Navapur’s tribal area.

Dilipkumar Sananda will again contest from Khamgaon despite his moneylender father’s name being embroiled in a controversy following a farmer’s suicide in western Vidarbha.

NCP’s Rana Jagjitsinh Patil whose Parliamentarian father, Padamsinh Patil, is facing murder charges will contest from Osmanabad. The Congress and NCP have decided to repeat most of their incumbent and ex-ministers. The Congress made an exception by denying a ticket to Minister of State for Finance Dr Sunil Deshmukh from Amravati and giving it to President Pratibha Patil’s son, Rajendra Shekhawat.

The allies have ensured tickets for all sitting legislators, including Independents who switched over to their folds. Sainik-turned-Congressman and aspiring chief minister Narayan Rane’s supporters have benefitted most from this move.