Shinde, Wasnik, Deora may feature in Congress’ Maharashtra list for Lok Sabha polls

Former Union ministers Sushilkumar Shinde, Milind Deora, Pratik Patil and Mukul Wasnik are likely to feature in the Congress’ first list of Lok Sabha candidates from the state that is expected to be released in a couple of days
State leaders will hold another meeting with party president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday.(HT)
State leaders will hold another meeting with party president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday.(HT)
Published on Mar 08, 2019 11:42 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHT Correspondent, Mumbai

Former Union ministers Sushilkumar Shinde, Milind Deora, Pratik Patil and Mukul Wasnik are likely to feature in the Congress’ first list of Lok Sabha candidates from the state that is expected to be released in a couple of days. Nana Patole, who was the sitting MP from Bhandara-Gondia constituency when he quit the BJP to join the Congress, may fielded against Union minister Nitin Gadkari in Nagpur.

The screening committee of the Congress, headed by All India Congress Committee general secretary and in charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge, has finalised the candidates in Delhi, said sources. The party has decided to resolve the dispute over seats with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and alliance with the smaller parties in the next two days. State Congress chief Ashok Chavan, leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, and Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam from Maharashtra attended the meeting. State leaders will hold another meeting with party president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday.

The screening committee discussed probable candidates for five Mumbai seats the party is contesting. Former MPs Milind Deora and Priya Dutt have been finalised from Mumbai South and Mumbai North Central, respectively. Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam and former MP Eknath Gaikwad are being considered for the two other city seats, North West and South Central, respectively. “The final decision will be taken by the central election committee headed by Rahul Gandhi in the next few days,” said a leader.

Former Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nana Patole, who had resigned as legislator in December 2017 over disagreement with party leaders on farmers’ issues, is expected to be the Congress candidate from Nagpur against sitting MP Gadkari. Patole, who joined the Congress last year, said the party has asked for his consent and he has expressed his willingness. Former state minister Nitin Raut is another candidate being considered for a seat. Wasnik and state Congress women wing chief Charulata Tokas have reportedly been finalised from Ramtek and Wardha, respectively.

Shinde (Solapur), Amita Chavan (Nanded), Pratik Patil (Sangli) and Rohidas Patil (Dhule) are other leaders whose candidature is believed to have been finalised. According to party sources, Gandhi is expected to speak to NCP chief Sharad Pawar to take a call over Ahmednagar. The Congress has been demanding it for Dr Sujay Vikhe Patil, son of Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, while the NCP has been denying it. The state leaderships of both the parties have left it to their central leadership. The NCP has been demanding Aurangabad and Nandurbar in exchange for Ahmednagar. Former legislator Satish Chavan could be NCP’s candidate from Aurangabad. “Pawar and Gandhi are also expected to discuss the alliance with smaller parties. As Ambedkar is unlikely to join, both the parties need to take a final call on the alliance soon,” said an NCP leader.

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