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Bhandara-Gondia LS bypoll: Cong, NCP yet to reach consensus on candidate

BJP, Bhandara-Gondia Bypoll to Maharashtra’s Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha constituency will be held on May 28, but the Congress and the NCP are yet to arrive at a consensus on whose candidate will contest from the seat, sources said on Monday.

The seat fell vacant after BJP MP Nana Patole resigned from the post and also quit the ruling party to return to the Congress fold earlier this year. Patole had defeated NCP heavyweight Praful Patel in the 2014 general elections from the constituency.

Sources said both the parties are keen on contesting the bye-election and the final decision in this matter is expected to be taken after May 3, when elections to 21 seats in the Upper House of the state Assembly will be held.

“Both the parties are keen on contesting the bypoll. There is no consensus on it yet. We will discuss it with NCP leaders after four days,” a Congress insider said.

Although the seat had gone the NCP’s way during seat sharing talks between the two parties for the previous Lok Sabha polls, after Patole switched over to the Congress, the Rahul Gandhi-led party is also keen on fighting the bypoll to the parliamentary constituency.

It also means that whichever of the two parties contests the bypoll on May 28, is more likely to field its candidate to the seat in the Lok Sabha elections next year, the source said.

“Talks to form an alliance are on, but the final decision in this regard will be taken by the central leaderships of the two parties,” the leader said.

Besides the Bhandara-Gondia seat, the Election Commission had on April 26 announced the schedule for bypolls in Palghar (Maharashtra), Kairana (Uttar Pradesh) and Nagaland.

The Palghar seat fell vacant after the demise of BJP MP Chintaman Wangaya. The bypoll to the Kairana seat was necessitated after BJP veteran Hukum Singh passed away in February.

The Nagaland seat fell vacant when Neiphiu Rio resigned as a Lok Sabha member to become the chief minister of the state.

The notification would be issued on May 3, while the counting would take place on May 31, the Election Commission said.

Bypolls to the Noorpur Assembly seat in Uttar Pradesh and Tharali assembly segment in Uttarakhand would also take place on May 28.

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