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BJP undecided about Madha, Cong unable to take Sangli call

In Sangli, the Congress handed the seat to the Swabhimani Paksha, the political arm of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), as part of a seat sharing agreement

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 29, 2019 15:40 IST
Abhay Khairnar and Shalaka Shinde
Abhay Khairnar and Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Lok Sabha Elections 2019,BJP
Ranjitsinh Naik Nimbalkar left Congress to join BJP.(HT PHOTO)

Madha and Sangli, two semi-rural Lok Sabha constituencies in Western Maharashtra are emerging as tough seats to assign candidates to, for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena combine.

Several leaders from the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have made the move to the BJP with an eye on getting a Lok Sabha ticket.

BJP inducted Ranjeetsinh Mohite-Patil, son of senior NCP leader Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil; and former Satara Congress president, Ranjitsinh Naik Nimbalkar.

Both Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil and Ranjitsinh Naik Nimbalkar, along with Rohan Deshmukh, son of state cabinet minister Subhash Deshmukh, have expressed their desire to contest the polls. On Wednesday, Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil added to the conundrum by stating that if the BJP asks, he is willing to contest the elections.

Madha and Sangli, both, are seats up for grabs, in that sense.

Ranjeet Sinh Mohite Patil quit NCP to join BJP. ( HT PHOTO )

In Sangli, the Congress handed the seat to the Swabhimani Paksha, the political arm of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), as part of a seat sharing agreement.

BJP party insiders, courting anonymity, say it is contemplating all options on Madha, as the NCP has fielded Sanjay Shinde, a strong contender. Shinde is Solapur Zilla Parishad president with a strong mass base.

As per the NCP-Congress seat sharing formula, Congress has four seats in Western Maharashtra - Solapur, Pune, Sangli and Shirdi. While the party has already announced candidates for Solapur and Shirdi, Pune remains undecided, as does Sangli.

In Sangli, the Congress witnessed a setback after Pratik Patil, grandson of late chief minister Vasantdada Patil, quit the party.

Pratik has since been insisting his cousin Vishal contest the elections, either on the Congress ticket or as an independent.

While the Congress has not officially announced if the seat has been given to the SSS, head of the farmers’ outfit, Raju Shetti, said, “Sangli has been given to us and we are consulting everyone, including those from the Congress, before finalising the name.

Shetti indicated that Vishal Patil is being convinced not to throw his hat in the poll ring, a move that could hurt the SSS candidate’s chances.

Former Congress leader Pratik Patil said, “We will wait for the party to give us (Vishal) a ticket. If they give us a ticket it is ok. Or we will contest independently,” said Pratik Patil, two-time Parliamentarian and elder grandson of Vasantdada Patil.

When asked if Congress workers were asking for a SSS ticket for Pruthviraj Patil, Raju Shetti said, “There are a few names in the rounds including Pruthviraj Patil, Vishal Patil, Arun Lad, Ajit Ghorpade and Padalkar. We have asked Congress if it will sour our relations if a Congress member gets SSS ticket. They do not mind. Therefore, we are in the process of selecting a candidate who is acceptable to everyone. We will have adecision by tomorrow (Friday)”

Sanjaykaka Patil, the current member of Parliament from Sangli, filed his nomination form at the Sangli district collector’s office on Thursday. He has, however, not submitted his affidavit, according to the district information officer. He is contesting on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket. On the first day of nomination, 18 people submitted forms for 25 people, the DIO said.

First Published: Mar 29, 2019 15:07 IST