Maha polls: Congress’s first list of 51 is out

The Congress on Sunday released its first list of 51 candidates for the Assembly polls. The list includes names of former chief minister Ashok Chavan, Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat, leader of opposition Vijay Wadettiwar, party’s state legislature leader KC Padvi and all its working presidents, former ministers Arif Naseem Khan, Madhukar Chavan, Ramesh Bagwe and 23 sitting legislators.

The party did not renominate Prithviraj Chavan, giving a clear indication that he was being fielded for the Satara Lok Sabha bypolls. MLAs who are likely to defect to the BJP, too, have not been named.

The party has nominated 23 of its sitting MLAs and has replaced sitting MLAs Surupsing Naik, with his son Shirish (Nawapur), Ashok Chavan’s wife and sitting MLA Amita (Bhokar) with the senior leader, and fielded the party’s only MP Suresh Dhanorkar’s wife Pratibha (Warora).

Dhanorkar had joined the Congress by resigning as the Shiv Sena MLA ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The party has fielded all its working presidents – Nitin Raut (Nagpur North), Yashomati Thakur (Teosa), Muzaffar Hussain (Mira Bhayandar), Vishwajeet Kadam (Palus-Kadegaon) and Basawraj Patil (Ausa).

In Mumbai, barring Aslam Shaikh (Malad West), the party has renominated its sitting MLAs, including Amin Patel (Mumbadevi), Varsha Gaikwad (Dharavi), Arif Naseem Khan (Chandivli), besides nominating former MLA Ashok Jadhav (Andheri West), former minister Chandrakant Handore (Chembur), spokesperson Bhai Jagtap (Colaba), Mumbai Youth Congress chief Ganesh Yadav and former MLA Baba Siddique’s son Zeeshan Siddique. The party’s sitting Wadala MLA Kalidas Kolambakar had quit the party to join the BJP last month.

Apart from renominating sitting MLAs Amit Vilasrao Deshmukh and Praniti Sushilkumar Shinde, the party has also nominated former CM Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar’s son Ashok, former Bihar governor DY Patil’s grandson Ruturaj Patil.

Six party MLAs DS Ahire, Kashiram Pawara, Siddharam Mhetre, Bharat Bhalke, Aslam Shaikh, Rahul Bondre have not been renominated in the first list, after the party got internal reports that they may join the BJP or Shiv Sena soon.

Meanwhile, the Congress and NCP, after resolving the difference over five-six seats, have decided to make an official announcement on October 2. “The formal announcement on the alliance, along with all smaller parties, will be done on October 2 jointly,” said Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat.

The Congress has exchanged a few seats, including Ghatkopar West and Bhandup with the NCP. The party has refused to exchange Melghat, Aheri, Akola and Amravati.

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