Maharashtra Assembly polls: NCP announces first list of 5 candidates, fields Dhananjay Munde from Parli

Manoj Dattatrye More
Pawar announced the names of candidates during his statewide tour ahead of the assembly election, in the afternoon.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday announced the ‘first list’ of candidates for the upcoming Maharashtra state assembly elections, even as his party didn’t officially put out a full-fledged list. While attending a party meeting in Beed today, he announced the names of five candidates, including senior leader Dhananjay Munde.

Pawar announced the names of candidates during his statewide tour ahead of the assembly election, in the afternoon. Pawar arrived in Beed today after holding rallies in Solapur and Osmanabad in last two days. Dhananjay Munde has been fielded from Parli assembly constituency. He is at present leader of opposition in the state Legislative Council, from Beed’s Parli Assembly seat. The NCP leader is set to take on his cousin- state minister Pankaja Munde who had defeated him in the 2014 assembly elections by a margin over 25,000 votes from Parli.

The NCP president also declared the candidature of four other party leaders – Sandip Kshirsagar from Beed seat, Vijaysinh Pandit from Gevrai, Prakash Solanke from Majalgaon and Namita Mundada from Kaij.

The party has said that said candidate for Ashti seat will be announced later.

In 2014, NCP had won only one seat from Beed district. Jaydutt Kshirsagar, who won from NCP has switched over to Shiv Sena. Sena now holds one seat while five others are held by the BJP. BJP’s sitting MLAs include Laxman Pawar from Gevrai, R T Deshmukh from Majalgaon, Bhimrao Dhonde from Ashti, Sangeeta Thombare from Kej and Pankaja Munde from Parli.

However, NCP said there was no confusion and the names announced by Pawar are the same which the party had finalised. During the Lok Sabha elections though, the party had recommended the name of its chief Sharad Pawar from Madha seat. Pawar had reportedly withdrawn his nomination to make way for youngsters.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, "Since our party chief has announced the names of five candidates, this should be considered as the first list…we will soon put out the second list."

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said the party’s first list is ready and would be released soon. In Pune district, the party is like to field Sanjay Jagtap from Purandar and Ramesh Bagwe from Pune cantonment seats.

Former Congress state president Ashok Chavan, who lost the Nanded Lok Sabha seat is likely to contest from Bhokar assembly seat. Former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan will contest from Karad seat which he had won in 2014. "I am comfortable in South Karad seat," Chavan said. In 2014 elections, when he was the chief minister of the state, he had overcome a stiff challenge from party’s rebel candidate Vilaskaka Undalkar and BJP candidate Atul Bhosale.

Vishwajeet Kadam, who won from Palus-Kadegaon seat in 2018, is likely to be fielded from the same seat. Vishwajeet had contested from the seat after his father, Patangrao Kadam, a former minister, passed away.

The name of sitting MLA Amit Deshmukh, son of former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, has been finalised from Latur seat. Praniti Shinde, Solapur sitting MLA and daughter of former CM Sushilkumar Shinde, will be fielded from Solapur seat. Four-time MLA Vijay Wadettiwar, who is the Opposition leader in the state assembly, will again contest from Bhrampuri constituency of Chandrapur, Congress sources said.