Battle for LS elections heats up in Maharashtra: Congress to finalise list next week

Updated on Jan 26, 2019 08:35 PM IST

Party to send the list to AICC by the end of the month; gets 52 names from Latur, more than 25 for Shirdi

Ashok Chavan, Congress chief in Maharashtra(HT FILE)
Ashok Chavan, Congress chief in Maharashtra(HT FILE)
Hindustan Times | BySurendra P Gangan, Mumbai

The state Congress will finalise its list of probable candidates for the Lok Sabha elections early next week and submit it to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) by the end of the month.

During the review meeting held over last month, the state unit received lists of probable candidates from the district units in each of the 48 constituencies, with highest number of names (52) from Latur, followed by Shirdi (more than 25). The parliamentary board, comprising senior party leaders from the state, will shortlist them to two to three names in their meet on Monday and Tuesday and send the list to AlCC. “At our meeting with party president Rahul Gandhi earlier this month, we were given deadlines for various election-related activities. The deadline for submission of list of candidates is end of January,” said a senior Congress leader.

The board is headed by state unit chief Ashok Chavan, with leader of Opposition in state Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, former CMs Sushilkumar Shinde, Prithviraj Chavan, and former ministers Rohidas Patil, Balasaheb Thorat as its members. Despite the alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party and other smaller parties, the party is looking at candidates for all seats.

“AICC has its own mechanism to judge the best candidates by conducting surveys. The final decision is taken based on the names suggested by the state unit and its feedback,” said another party leader.

In Mumbai, the district units of all six constituencies held meetings over the last week and completed the procedure of finalising the names of probable candidates. In Mumbai South, Milind Deora has emerged as the only contender, while former MP Eknath Gaikwad’s name saw opposition within the unit. After former MP Priya Dutt backed out, big names within the party have come as contenders from Mumbai North-Central constituency. Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam is vying for North-West constituency.

AICC has also asked the state Congress unit to submit probable dates of tours of Gandhi in Maharashtra. The state unit is planning three public meetings for the general elections. “In 2014 Assembly elections, the party was caught unawares after the NCP pulled out of the state government and announced its decision to snap ties. This time, we have decided to be ready. The Congress and NCP are likely to settle for 25 and 23 seats,” said a Congress leader.

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