Mumbai : The All India Congress Committee has declared its second list of Lok Sabha candidates and seven seats of Maharashtra too have been announced. Mainly, Hingoli – Rajeev Satav, Wardha – Sagar Meghe – (where primaries was held), Akola – Hidayat Patel, Jalna -Vilas Autade, Gadhchiroli- Namdev Osendi, Bhiwandi -Vishwanath Patil and Hatkanangle -Kalappa Awade (original Shetkari Sanghatana of Sharad Joshi).

Importantly, Wardha is a seat where Rahul Gandhi had implemented the primaries on an experimental basis. Majority of people during the primaries had voted in favour of Sagar Meghe, son of veteran Congress leader Datta Meghe, former MP, was pitted against former MPCC president Prabha Rau’s daughter Charulata Tokas. Meghe senior had been wanting to step out of politics and was keen to see son step in his place.

In another seat, where Congress does stand to now give a good fight is Hatkanangle, where the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana leader Raju Shetty is the sitting MP. Shetty ,a Jain, has single handedly taken on the Maratha strong lobby of the Nationalist Congress Party, taking up issues of the rights of acgricultural labourers, small farmers and workers. Despite, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar’s efforts to try and quell Shetty’s agitations using the other Jain businessmen, Shetty managed to hold strong. The NCP gave up this seat as they were confident they stood no chance. This time, Congress has fielded a candidate from the original Shetkari Sanghatana of Sharad Joshi. The two are arch rivals and Congress stands a better chance than NCP.

In another major change, the ruling Congress and NCP have swapped Raigad and Hingoli seats. While the Congress will be fighting the Hingoli seat which was earlier with the Sharad Pawar-led party, the NCP will has announced Sunil Tatkare, minister as its candidate from the Raigad, a Congress seat where veteran leader A R Antulay had lost to Shiv Sena’s Anant Geete by a margin of 1.76 lakh votes in the 2009 polls.

On the other hand, Congres is still to announce candidates to six seats, one of them being Yavamal, where the primaries’ experiment was implemented. Its ally NCP too is still to announce their candidate from Maval seat.

Neeta Kolhatkar

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