Mumbai: The Congress party has yielded under pressure from NCP President Sharad Pawar and decided to field former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan from the Satara Lok Sabha constituency.
Interestingly, Chavan’s Assembly seat will be given to his arch rival Vilas Kaka Undalkar's son. The Congress party is also expected to deny tickets to at least six sitting legislators in its first list.
The by-election for Satara Lok Sabha seat will be held along with the Assembly elections on October 21. This election was necessitated by Udayan Raje Bhosale’s resignation.
Though this seat is in the NCP quota, the party has decided to relinquish it for the Congress. The same NCP, it will be recalled, had refused to hand over the Ahmednagar seat to Sujay Vikhe Patil, son of Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, despite a request from the Congress high command.
Though Chavan was not interested in contesting for Lok Sabha, he was directed to do so by party president Sonia Gandhi. In a way, it will help Chavan settle scores with Udayan Raje.
Incidentally, Satara is a bastion of the Congress and the NCP. Most of the legislators in this region belong to these two parties. Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar, Balasaheb Patil and Vilas Kaka Undalkar will help the Congress pose a formidable challenge to Udyana Raje and the BJP.
Chavan currently represents the Karad South Assembly seat in the state legislature. This seat was traditionally represented by Vilas Undalkar for seven terms.
He is very strong leader in Karad and was denied ticket due to Chavan's entry in state politics. But now the Congress party has decided to field his son Uday Singh, who will be given the ticket from Karad South.
6 legislators to be dropped
Six sitting legislators of the Congress will be denied tickets for various reasons. Aslam Shaikh, party legislator from Malad West in Mumbai, Rahul Bondre from Chikhali in Buldhana, Bahart Bhalke from Pandharpur in Solapur and Siddharam Mhetre from Solapur will be denied party patronage as they are on the way to join the BJP.
In North Maharashtra, party's senior leader and member of legislative council, Amarish Patel, is also expected to join the BJP.
Therefore his close associates -- Kashiram Pawara, legislator from Shirpur, and Dhanaji Ahire, legislator from Sakri, both in Dhule district, will be denied tickets.