Fearing infighting ahead of Rahul rally, Congress delays finalising Mumbai’s Lok Sabha candidates
The decision for more than six Mumbai seats has been put on hold to avoid infighting within the city unitUpdated: Feb 27, 2019 07:54 IST
Congress leaders from the city delayed finalising the names of the Lok Sabha election candidates fearing a backlash from leaders in warring groups ahead of party president Rahul Gandhi’s rally on Friday. The committee could also not finalise the names to be recommended for at least four other constituencies from the remaining part of Maharashtra.
A marathon meeting of the screening committee, second-last stage in the screening of candidates for the election, was held in Delhi on Monday. Chaired by All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge and comprising another general secretary KC Venugopal, the committee included five secretaries and three state-level leaders. The recommendations go to the Central Election Committee (CEC), headed by Rahul Gandhi, for the final call.
Although the committee was expected to shortlist one or two names each from the 26 constituencies which Congress is contesting as per their seat-sharing agreement with the NCP, the committee could finalise names for about 15 seats. The committee recommended only one name for some constituencies. These include sitting legislator and wife of state party president Ashok Chavan — Amita Chavan (Nanded), Rohidas Patil (Dhule), Charulata Tokas (Wardha), former legislator Mukul Wasnik (Ramtek), former union minister Sushilkumar Shinde (Solapur).
The committee has shortlisted two names for another five constituencies. The decision for more than six Mumbai seats has been put on hold to avoid infighting within the city unit, ahead of the Rahul Gandhi rally in the city. Mumbai city chief Sanjay Nirupam is facing opposition to his candidature from Mumbai North West constituency, while North Central constituency has too many contenders. Former MP Eknath Gaikwad is facing resistance from party leaders to contest South Central constituency. “To avoid the dispute and infighting resurfacing ahead of the Friday rally, the scrutiny of the Mumbai seats has been put on hold. For now, all the Mumbai leaders have joined hands to ensure the success of the rally. All the city leaders submitted their preparation reports for the rally to Nirupam on Tuesday,” said a city leader.
Nirupam, however, said, “As I had to flow back to Mumbai for the preparation of the rally, I requested to postpose discussion on Mumbai seats. We will discuss them in the first week of March.”
The party is finding it difficult to get a candidate with winning capacity for a few seats including Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Mumbai North. Ahmednagar and Aurangabad are the constituencies dangled in dispute over exchange between Congress and Nationalist Congress Party. Congress is demanding Ahmednagar seat for Dr Sujay, son of Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil from NCP. Some of the seats have been deferred for finalisation owing to the ambiguity of the alliance with smaller allies including Swabhimani Paksha led by Raju Shetti,Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh chief Prakash Ambedkar, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi led by Hitendra Thakur.