Priyanka Chaturvedi (L) with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Priyanka Chaturvedi (L) with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

BJP, Congress and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra have junked the veterans in giving candidature for the Rajya Sabha election slated for March 26. BJP has nominated Aurangabad Municipal Corporation's former mayor Dr Bhagwat Karad for the third seat. The party has not yet considered veteran leader and former minister Eknath Khadse for Rajya Sabha seat after he was denied party ticket in the state assembly election held last year. The election is due for seven seats from Maharashtra.

Karad, who hails from the politically crucial Vanjari community, enjoyed proximity with the former union minister late Gopinath Munde and now he is close to his daughter and former Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde. Karad is the third candidate after BJP nominated union minister Ramdas Athavale and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's descendent Udayanraje Bhosale. The duo filed their nominations today while Karad will file on Friday which is the last date for filing nomination for the Rajya Sabha election slated for March 26.

By nominating Karad, BJP has also signalled that Pankaja Munde, who is sulking over party's neglect after her humiliating defeat in the assembly election from her home turf Parali seat, will have to wait for her rehabilitation. BJP may not consider Pankaja Munde for her nomination for the election to the Maharashtra Legislative Council slated for next month. The reason is Munde also comes from the Vanjara community.

In case of Congress party too, the party will nominate former MP and party leader Rahul Gandhi's close confidant, Rajeev Satav. The official announcement is expected tonight or early Friday morning. By selecting Satav, Congress has ditched veterans including former union minister Sushilkumar Shinde, former MP Rajani Patil. Satav, who was elected from the Hingoli Lok Sabha seat in 2014, did not contest the general election held in May 2019.

Satav is currently general secretary in charge of Gujarat and has been quite active in the revival of the Congress party there. He has also been at the forefront to argue Congress party's case in the public and also on electronic media.

As far as Shiv Sena is concerned, the party has selected Priyanka Chaturvedi for the Rajya Sabha seat from Maharashtra. Chaturvedi because of severe differences with the leadership had left the Congress party and joined Shiv Sena last year in the presence of Uddhav Thackeray and Aaditya Thackeray. Her candidature was possible following tacit support from Aaditya Thackeray who is Minister of Tourism and Environment in the state government.

Shiv Sena thereby has junked senior party leader and former MP Chandrakant Khaire who had lost the Lok Sabha poll in Aurangabad seat to MIM nominee Imtiyaz Jalil. Khaire, who has been quite close to Shiv Sena supremo late Bal Thackeray and later had established a good rapport with Uddhav Thackeray, was expecting his rehabilitation. In his reaction, Khaire said even though the party has not considered him for nomination he will remain with Shiv Sena till last breath.

Sena will announce Chaturvedi's nomination tonight or early morning tomorrow.

Meanwhile, NCP is hopeful to get approval from Shiv Sena and Congress to nominate one more candidate. Already NCP chief Sharad Pawar had filed his nomination on Wednesday but was expecting nod from Shiv Sena and Congress to share their excess votes so that NCP can field one more candidate. The party may nominate former minister Fouzia Khan.

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