Barely four months after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray vowed to go solo in all future polls, his party and the BJP have cemented a pre-poll pact for the May 21 elections to six local authorities constituencies in the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC).
On the other hand, the opposition Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) who had agreed for a pre-poll alliance have failed to arrive at a seat-sharing agreement.
According to sources, the NCP is fielding Ramesh Karad from the Osmanabad-Latur-Beed constituency, which is currently represented by a Congress MLC.
The elections to the six local authorities seats became necessitated as three members of the NCP, two members of the BJP, and a Congress MLC are retiring on June 21.
Out of these six seats, three are currently held by the NCP, two by the BJP and one by the Congress.
The Shiv Sena is a constituent of the BJP-led NDA government in Maharashtra and the Centre.
Thackeray, in a party convention held in January, had announced that the Sena would contest all the future polls on its own strength without any alliance.
According to sources in the BJP, the party and the Sena have agreed to share three seats each for the upcoming polls and have fielded candidates.
Sources said the BJP is fielding state general secretary Dr Ramdas Ambatkar, Suresh Dhas, and Minister of State for Environment Pravin Pote-Patil from Wardha-Chandrapur-Gadchiroli, Osmanabad-Latur-Beed, and Amravati seats, respectively.
The Sena is learnt to have nominated Narendra Darade from Nashik, Rajeev Sabale from Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, and Vipul Gopikisan Bajoriya from Parbhani-Hingoli.
The NCP is nominating Karad from Osmanabad-Latur-Beed seat, Shivaji Sahane from Nashik, and Aniket Tatkare from Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg seat, according to sources.
However, the Congress is yet to open its cards.
Tomorrow is the last date of filing of nomination papers for the polls.
The current partywise break-up in the 78-member Maharashtra legislative council is: NCP (23), Congress (19), BJP (18), Sena (9) and others.
Nomination of Karad is viewed as a major jolt to Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde (BJP) on her home turf of Beed.
Karad, the close aide and half-brother of the minister, left the BJP and joined the NCP, which has fielded him from Osmanabad-Latur-Beed constituency.
Karad, earlier associated with the RSS, had joined the NCP.
However, almost 12 years ago, during the times of late Gopinath Munde, he joined the BJP.
However, when the process for selection of a candidate for Osmanabad-Latur-Beed seat began, supporters of Pankaja Munde opposed Karad’s nomination, sources said.
The entry of former NCP minister Suresh Dhas into the BJP upset the local political equations.
Osmanabad-Latur-Beed local body seat is currently represented by the Congress’ Dilip Deshmukh, the brother of late chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.
According to sources in the Congress, the party is contemplating to field Pappa Modi from the Osmanabad-Latur-Beed constituency.
As per the Election Commission of India (ECI), Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency has a total of 941 voters, Nashik constituency 644 voters, Wardha-Chandrapur-Gadchiroli constituency 1,061 voters, Parbhani-Hingoli constituency 503 votes, Amravati constituency 489 votes, and Osmanabad-Latur-Beed constituency 1,006 voters.
The formal announcement of the nominees of the parties is awaited.
Source – NIE