Assembly Elections 2019: Congress releases 51 candidates in first list for Maharashtra
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, current Congress state president Balasaheb Thorat and leader of the opposition in the assembly Namdevrao Wadettiwar were among the prominent names in party’s first list of 51 candidates for Maharashtra elections slated for October 21.
Congress is contesting 125 seats in Maharashtra in alliance with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) which will also contest the same number of seats. The remaining 38 seats in 288-member strong Maharashtra Assembly have been left for other friendly parties to contest.
The Congress had won 42 seats in the 2014 assembly elections and the NCP won 41.
The list, released late on Sunday evening also figures Congress Legislative Party leader KC Padavi, fielded from Akkalkuwa (ST) reserved seat along with former Congress stalwart and chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s son, Amit Vilasrao Deshmukh, who has been fielded from Latur City constituency. All the candidates need to file their nominations before October 4.
A Congress functionary had earlier in the month said the screening committee tasked with shortlisting the candidates had cleared over hundred names including Ashok Chavan, Prithviraj Chavan, Balasaheb Thorat, KC Padavi and Vijay Namdevrao Wadettiwar.
However, many senior leaders including Sushil Kumar Shinde, Milind Deora, Sanjay Nirupam and Nana Patole may not be considered for the assembly elections, the functionary had said.
Both the Congress and the NCP have been hit by desertions with senior leaders defecting to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena in the run-up to the elections.
Recently NCP’s Lok Sabha member from Satara Udyanraje Bhosale, a descendant of Maratha warrior king Shivaji joined the BJP in party president Amit Shah’s presence on September 14 and senior Congress leader and former state minister Harshvardhan Patil joined the BJP on September 11.
The Congress and the NCP also fared poorly in Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year. Of the 48 parliamentary seats in the state, the NCP won only four, while the Congress won a solitary seat. As such, the forthcoming assembly elections are being seen as a test of survival for the two parties.