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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Sharad Pawar wants big Lok Sabha poll result, senior NCP leaders less keen

Unlike becoming an MP, seniors feel staying in the state can help them become minister

mumbai Updated: Oct 25, 2018 17:08 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
The NCP has already demanded half of the 48 Lok Sabha seats from the Congress as condition to forge a pre-poll alliance for elections
The NCP has already demanded half of the 48 Lok Sabha seats from the Congress as condition to forge a pre-poll alliance for elections(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
         

 While the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) plans to win maximum Lok Sabha seats from Maharashtra in the coming parliamentary elections, senior leaders from his party are not keen to contest the general elections.

Earlier this month, Pawar called for a two-day meet for seat-wise discussions with senior and local party leaders. Senior leaders namely former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal (who was expected to contest from Nashik), former state ministers Dilip Walse-Patil (who was expected to contest from Shirur), Sunil Tatkare (who was expected to contest from Raigad), Rajesh Tope (who was expected to contest from Jalna), Anand Paranjpe (who was expected to contest from Kalyan) and others have expressed their unwillingness to contest the Lok Sabha elections, said a senior party leader, requesting anonymity.

This may prove to be a setback for the party’s plans to field heavyweights to win seats. The NCP has already demanded half of the 48 Lok Sabha seats from the Congress as condition to forge a pre-poll alliance for elections. Tatkare and Jadhav are arch rivals. As former state NCP president Bhaskar Jadhav expressed willingness to contest polls from Raigad, Tatkare offered to stay out of it, said the leader.

Jadhav, who is recovering from an accident and could not attend the meet, had written to the party leadership.

Bhujbal said, “I have told the party that I am not interested in fighting Lok Sabha elections. It is for the party to decide. Pawar saheb has not taken any decision yet. But the party wants all top leaders to jump in the poll fray this time. The objective is to increase its tally in Parliament and discussions are on.”

Walse-Patil however said he wasn’t asked to contest the polls.

“Neither was I asked to contest elections, nor have I said anything negative,” he said. When asked whether he is ready to contest the elections, he said, “I will discuss these things only with the NCP chief.”

Paranjpe said he has not denied contesting elections and will contest if asked. “I will contest the Lok Sabha polls if party decides so,” Paranjpe said.

Tatkare and Tope were not available for comment.

Most of the senior leaders are not keen to contest the Lok Sabha polls as they want to pursue their political career in the state only. “As they are senior leaders, staying in the state will brighten their chances of getting the post of ministers, if we succeed in defeating the ruling allies. That may not be possible after being a Member of Parliament (MP) in the Lok Sabha, as the tallest leaders, NCP chief, Praful Patel and Supriya Sule, will considered for it,” said a party insider.