Congress declares candidates before talks with NCP

Mumbai: With the overwhelming response to Jan Sangharsh yatra in Western Maharashtra region received from common man and party workers, Congress hurriedly announced candidatures in 13 state assembly constituencies during public rallies before taking Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in confidence. The steps taken by Congress seem to be pressure tactic against NCP, but would become hurdle during seat sharing talks.

Even negotiations for seat begins, Congress has announced its 13 candidates for 2019 assembly poll in Western Maharashtra region. Out of which seven are sitting legislators and Congress has claimed on six constituencies which were earlier shared with NCP according to seat sharing formula. Though, the Congress and NCP has in principle agreed to tie up alliance before Lok Sabha and assembly election, they have not yet started talks on sharing of LS and assembly seats.

The Jan Sangharsh Yatra was started from Kolhapur on August 31 and concluded at Pune on September 8. During the yatra, Congress has announced the name of candidates in a public rallies and instructed them to start poll preparations. Among such candidates, Vishwajeet Kadam from Palus-Kadegaon in Sangli, Sangram Thopate from Bhor in Pune, Bharat Bhalke from Pandharpur in Solapur, Jaykumar Gore from Maan in Satara, Siddharam Mhetre from Akkalkot in Solapur, Praniti Shinde from Solapur and Satej Patil from south Kolhapur. These sitting candidates will be repeated. Except Satej Patil is member of legislative council (MLC) whereas remaining six are assembly members. Apart from these, Congress announced new names as candidates including Vikram Sawant from Jat in Sangli, Prakash Awade from Ichalkanaji in Sangli, Harshwardhan Patil from Indapur in Pune, Raju Awale from Hatkanangale in Kolhapur, Sadashiv Patil from Khanapur in Sangli and Ramesh Bagwe from Pune cantonment constituency.

Jaat is presently holding by Vilasrao Jagtap, MLA of Bharatiya Janata Party who was NCP legislator in 2009 and joined BJP before 2014 assembly poll. This seats was in NCP’s quota till 2009. Ichalkaranji is represented by BJP’s Suresh Halwankar and Awade was MLA from the same in 2009 poll. Indapur, once bastion of Congress is now represented by Dattatray Bharne of NCP. Congress leader Harshwardhan Patil had won the seat since 1995 till 2009. In 2014, as NCP and Congress contested separately, Patil lost the seat by Bharne. Congress has strong demand to share it with Congress as it was originally with them. Congress also wants political rehabilitation of Patil. Ashok Chavan, state president of Congress said, he will speak with NCP leaders and claim on six seats from Western Maharashtra region to get it back to the party. Nawab Malik, NCP spokesperson said that let the talks begin.

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