Sambhaji Raje, contesting as an independent, had sought votes from all political parties. Pawar and Thackeray discussed the candidature for the Rajya Sabha and decided that Thackeray would take the final call. Uddhav is interested in nominating a Shiv Sainik to the Upper House, rather than supporting an outsider. Sharad Pawar has cleverly expressed support to Sambhaji Raje so that there is no repercussion from a section of the Maratha community. Sena is open to giving him candidature if he joins the party.
Shiv Sena announced that the party would pitch two candidates for the Rajya Sabha elections which are slated to be held for six seats in Maharashtra on June 10. Shiv Sena is likely to renominate MP Sanjay Raut, whose term is ending on July 4, while the second candidate is not decided. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress – the two other partners in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) – will field one candidate each.
Shiv Sena’s dilemma is who will be in sixth position Sambhaji Raje or some Shiv Sainik. MVA leaders should strategies how to get the fourth candidate elected at a time when Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje, who is contesting as an independent, had sought votes from all political parties. Party insiders said the leadership was open to giving candidature to Sambhaji Raje, a descendant of Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji if he joined Shiv Sena.
Shiv Sena is not willing to support Sambhaji Raje as an independent candidate. NCP chief Sharad Pawar has, on the other hand, already indicated that MVA constituents have enough votes to elect one candidate each and the coalition’s surplus votes can be given to Sambhaji Raje. One thing is sure Sanjay Raut retains his seat in Rajya Sabha.
Sambhaji Raje, a member of the Kolhapur royal family and descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was earlier a President-nominated member of the Upper House of Parliament. He was earlier affiliated with the BJP. The BJP can win two RS seats with the number of MLAs it has, while the Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP can win a seat each. The contest will, therefore, be for the sixth seat.
Notification for Rajya Sabha elections will be issued on May 24. The entire process will be completed on June 13.