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Nanded Cong leaders ask Chavan to contest Assembly polls

Congress leaders from Nanded have asked its Lok Sabha MP and Maharashtra unit chief Ashok Chavan to contest Assembly polls instead of seeking renomination for the 2019 general elections.

According to Congress sources, the issue was raised by party leaders at the review meeting called by Chavan to take stock of the political situation in Maharashtra’s 48 Lok Sabha seats.

These sources said Nanded-based leaders asked Chavan, a former Maharashtra chief minister, to contest the Assembly polls scheduled later in 2019 instead of the Lok Sabha.

Chavan, sources said, told these leaders that a decision in this regard would be taken by the party’s central leadership.

Sources said leaders from Nanded also told Chavan that his wife Ameeta Chavan, or either of his daughters, should be fielded from Nanded Lok Sabha seat.

Chavan represented Bhokar assembly seat in Nanded in 2009 before winning Nanded parliamentary seat. The Bhokar assembly seat is currently held by his wife Ameeta. Chavan was MLA from Mudkhed in 1999 and 2004.

Apart from Chavan, former CM Prithviraj Chavan, former ministers Balasaheb Thorat and Mohammed Arif Naseem Khan, Youth Congress president Satyajit Tambe, Mahila Congress chief Charulata Tokas and AICC secretary Ashish Dua were among those present.

The day-long deliberations covered eight parliamentary seats in Marathwada and 12 in western Maharashtra.

To a question on why the three-day meeting will cover all 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state, when the Congress is in alliance talks with NCP, a party leader said, “We are an independent party and need to know our strengths and weaknesses in all 48 seats, irrespective of whether we contest or not.”

AICC general secretary in charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge is expected to join the deliberations from Friday.

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