Having finalised the 26:22 seat sharing formula, Congress and NCP in Maharashtra are likely to swap Raigad and Amravati Lok Sabha constituencies in the coming general elections.
NCP will most probably field Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare, a close aide of Ajit Pawar, from Raigad, while PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal will test waters from Nashik parliamentary seat, replacing his nephew Sameer. NCP will give the Amravati seat to Congress in return for Raigad.
NCP had proposed that as Congress was unable to wrest the Raigad seat from Shiv Sena for the three consecutive terms, it should be given a chance, sources said. Similarly, NCP could not win Amravati seat, which was unsuccessfully contested by Rajendra Gavai of RPI last time with its’s support.
However, Congress sources said that the swap was not yet finalised. NCP sources said party supremo and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar will meet ministers and office-bearers deputed to tour the 22 constituencies on Tuesday. “He will take stock of the political situation in the 22 constituencies and discuss finalisation of candidates. It is likely that both Congress and NCP will announce their list of candidates after February 21,” party sources added.
Home Minister R R Patil has toured the Maadha constituency and interacted with the local party leaders to discuss who would replace Sharad Pawar. Pawar has been elected to the Rajya Sabha and has announced quitting electoral politics. “The local unit of NCP is divided between senior leader Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil and Suresh Shinde, brother of local MLA Baban Shinde,” sources informed.
Despite the local unit in Satara demanding that senior leader Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar be given the ticket, it is likely that sitting MP Udayanraje Bhosale will be fielded again, sources added. After some delay, Congress and NCP decided to continue with 26:22 formula (26 for Congress and 22 for NCP) for the 48 seats in Maharashtra.
NCP has already said that it will not part with Kolhapur seat, and has decided to field Dhananjay Mahadik. The sitting MP, Sadashiv Mandlik, had contested as an independent after being denied ticket by NCP in 2009, and has since joined Congress.
Sources said Congress was not demanding Hingoli for Indian Youth Congress chief Rajiv Satav, as he had decided not to contest. Sitting NCP MPs Supriya Sule (Baramati), Padamsinh Patil (Osmanabad), Sanjay Dina Patil (Mumbai North East), Sanjeev Naik (Thane), Praful Patel (Gondia) will get tickets again.
Laxman Jagtap (Maval), Anand Paranjpye (Kalyan), Suryakanta Patil (Hingoli) have been finalised. Ministers Jaidutt Kshirsagar and Suresh Dhas are vying for the Beed Lok Sabha seat, against BJP leader Gopinath Munde.