Sharad Pawar to contest Lok Sabha polls from Madha in western Maharashtra
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Sharad Pawar to contest Lok Sabha polls from Madha in western Maharashtra

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who has played a major role in bringing a majority of the opposition parties together against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is likely to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Madha constituency in Solapur district of western Maharashtra

mumbai Updated: Feb 14, 2019 00:40 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Sharad Pawar,Maharashtra,Madha
Sharad Pawar was a Member of Parliament (MP) from this seat from 2009 to 2014(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who has played a major role in bringing a majority of the opposition parties together against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is likely to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Madha constituency in Solapur district of western Maharashtra. He was a Member of Parliament (MP) from this seat from 2009 to 2014. The decision is almost final and is likely to be announced in the party’s parliamentary committee meeting to be held in Mumbai on Thursday, according to leaders.

Ahead of the 2014 elections, Pawar had announced that he would not contest the elections and would go to the Rajya Sabha. Pawar’s close aides said his decision assumes significance as they expect him to play a major role in case of a hung House. “If neither the BJP nor the Congress is in a position to form the government, there would be a chance for a candidate who has acceptance across the parties to make it to the top. Pawarsaheb, with his vast experience and cordial relations with most political parties, could be a choice,” said a close aide of the NCP chief, who did not want to be named. “Even otherwise, he will play a significant role as we are expecting the UPA to do better.”

Senior NCP leader and legislative council chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar held a meeting at his official residence on Wednesday evening to convey the message and ensure understanding among senior leaders from the constituency, both from within the NCP and other parties. “The leaders were told that they will have to unite to make it an easy win,” said a senior leader.

After the meet, Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, sitting MP from Madha constituency, clarified that the reports about him being unhappy were false and he had proposed Pawar’s name from the constituency. “I was the first person to raise the demand,” Mohite Patil said. Nimbalkar refused to comment.

Others present at the meeting were Mohite Patil’s son and former MP Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil, Prabhakar Deshmukh, a former bureaucrat who was interested in contesting the polls from this seat, and former legislators Deepak Salunkhe and Rashmi Bagal. Apart from them, Ganpatrao Deshmukh, Sangola MLA from Peasants and Worker Party of India (PWP), which is part of the Madha Lok Sabha constituency, was also present at the meeting.

State NCP president Jayant Patil said, “We believe the NCP chief’s election to the Lok Sabha will strengthen his efforts of uniting the opposition. The party believes it will send a positive message among party cadre. He is yet to take a take call on the request.” “The idea is to win maximum seats. Senior leaders namely Chhagan Bhujbal (Nashik) and Ganesh Naik (Thane) have been asked to contest. The decision on their names is likely to be taken in Thursday’s meet,” said an ex-NCP minister.

First Published: Feb 14, 2019 00:40 IST