NCP to finalise candidates by January 15 even as all topline leaders express willingness to fight LS polls
The party was firm on contesting 22 out of the total 48 seats and open to swapping few constituencies with coalition partner Congress.
During the two-day marathon review meeting for Lok Sabha election preparations, Sharad Pawar met aspiring candidates from each constituency. “A final decision on candidates will be taken by January 10-15,” State NCP President Bhaskar Jadhav told reporters after the meeting.
Jadhav said all ministers including Ajit Pawar have told the party chief that they were ready to contest Lok Sabha polls from whichever seat the party feels appropriate.
“Ajit Pawar has himself said that he was willing to be fielded from Beed or Shirur Lok Sabha constituencies,” Jadhav said when asked about speculations that Ajit Pawar may contest from Sharad Pawar’s Lok Sabha constituency Maadha.
Pawar had declared that he will not contest the next Lok Sabha elections and will take the Rajya Sabha route.
To a question on whether Ajit Pawar’s candidature for Lok Sabha polls would amount to sidelining him in Maharashtra politics to facilitate Pawar’s daughter Supriya, Jadhav said she is a Lok Sabha member and will contest from Baramati. “There is no question of sidelining anybody. Decisions will be taken in the interest of the party. Our aim is to reach double digit figure of the 22 seats we contest. We want to win atleast 16 seats,” he added.
Jadhav said NCP will propose to Congress that both parties should contest one seat each in each district. There is possibility of swapping of seats at three to four places.
“Raigad constituency is with the Congress but they have been losing it for the last three elections. If there is swapping, I have expressed willingness to contest the Raigad seat,” said Jadhav, who represents Chiplun assembly in the Raigad Parliamentary seat.