Biggest of them all in its first list is Mohite Patil, whom Pawar preferred  for the Madha seat he has vacated instead of bringing in his nephew Ajit Pawar

Mumbai : Among the few surprises of Nationalist Congress Party’s first list of Lok Sabha candidates are a few first-timers. The biggest surprise in this announcement is the prestigious Madha seat, which the NCP president, Sharad Pawar has won previously. In fact a first timer for Lok Sabha, Vijaysinh Mohite Patil is a former minister who had in fact lost in the last assembly elections. “This is a message to Ajit Pawar that NCP president still prevails over all in the party. In fact in the last elections, Ajit Pawar was suspected to have engineered Mohite-Patil’s defeat, because he had rebelled against Ajit Pawar,” said a NCP party leader.

The BJP sees this as a fine opportunity, with a probable formidable candidate that they wish to field, Sadashiv Pote. Madha seat in fact is considered the prestigious seat in Maharashtra, with Pawar senior stepping aside from LS elections and opting for Rajya Sabha, members of all parties in the Maha Yuti (saffron alliance), had been making a pitch for it.

The other first-time LS candidate will be the Public Works Department minister, Chhagan Bhujbal, who has replaced his nephew Sameer Bhujbal to contest from Nashik. In fact, the NCP leaders had initially wanted Bhujbal senior to contest from Beed, which would have been a formidable, historic contest between two Other Backward Caste members, Gopinath Munde of BJP and Bhujbal. “However, saving the Nashik seat is important for our party. There were disturbing reports that had we repeated Sameer Bhujbal, we would face defeat, atleast the minister will be able to pull a victory,” said the NCP leader. Another legislator from Raver, Manish Jain has been given ticket from same LS constituency.

The first timers for NCP are Dr Satish Patil (Jalgaon), Krishnarao Ingle (Buldhana), Devadatta Nikam (Shirur), Vijay Bhamle (Parbhani), Dhananjay Mahadik (Kolhapur), Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar (Dindori), Satish patil (Jalgaon) and Independent Legislator from Badnera, Ravi Rana’s wife Navneet Kaur Rana, one time television actress, has got a ticket from Amravati. Bhavana Wasnik, an economics professor, from AAP will contest against Rana.

Meanwhile, Anand Paranjape, former MP, who left Shiv Sena to join NCP, too has been given a ticket from Kalyan-Dombivali. Another Legislator who contested as independent in the last elections, Rajiv Rajale from Ahmednagar, will contest under NCP from the same constituency.

Among the repeat MPs are Praful Patel (Bhandara-Gondia), he will face Prashant Mishra, a software consultant, from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP),

will contest against Dr Padamsinh Patil (Usmanabad), Supriya Sule (Baramati), Udayanraje Bhosale (Satara), Dr Sanjeev Naik (Thane), against whom AAP has fielded Sanjeev Sane and Sanjay Dina Patil (Mumbai North East).

Neeta Kolhatkar

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