NCP to field a Maratha nominee, one from Muslim/Dalit/tribal communities for 2 council seats

Mumbai: In the upcoming biennial elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council for 11 seats slated for July 12, the Ajit Pawar led NCP will contest two seats. The party plans to field one nominee from the politically influential Maratha community and another from the Muslim, tribal or Dalit communities.

A NCP functionary said that there are about 25 aspirants who have evinced interest in getting the party nomination.

The NCP’s core committee led by national president Ajit Pawar met on Saturday and discussed its strategy for the council election. The nomination from the Maratha community is to send a positive message especially amid the ongoing protest by pro-Maratha quota activist Manoj Jarange Patil. On the other hand, the nomination of a member from the Muslim, tribal or Dalit communities is to lure them ahead of the upcoming assembly elections. The party was hit badly as they voted against it fearing that their existence will be in jeopardy in the wake of a change in the Constitution.

The core committee has zeroed in on Rajesh Vitekar for nomination. Vitekar, who was the party’s nominee for the Lok Sabha elections from Parbhani, could not make it as during the seat-sharing arrangement the seat went to the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha which fielded its founder Mahadev Jankar who lost to Shiv Sena UBT nominee Sanjay Jadhav. Vitekar is a Maratha and a close confidant of Ajit Pawar. In addition, former chief minister AR Antulay’s son-in-law Mushtaq Antulay, party general secretary Shivajirao Garje, party leader from Amravati Surekha Thakre, Advocate Nazir Qazi from Buldhana among others are keen to get the party nomination.

A senior NCP minister said ‘’It was decided that of the 25 names a fresh list of aspirants will be shortlisted and from that one will be picked as there is unanimity on Vitekar’s nomination.’’

Considering the present strength of 103 legislators in the state assembly, the BJP can field five nominees, the Shiv Sena two nominees based on its 37 legislators, NCP two nominees with its 39 legislators. The Congress can contest one seat with its 37 legislators while the Maha Vikas Aghadi can field one nominee based on the Congress party’s excess votes and also with the support of 16 legislators of the Shiv Sena UBT and the NCP SP’s 13 legislators.

Considering the total number of assembly members is 274, the quota comes to 23 votes.

–IANS

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