MVA in internal tiff over seat-sharing, Congress declares 7 candidates | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

MVA in internal tiff over seat-sharing, Congress declares 7 candidates

Mar 22, 2024 09:23 AM IST

MVA coalition in Maharashtra faces setback as Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) clash over Lok Sabha seat-sharing, leading to unresolved differences.

MUMBAI: Opposition coalition Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) is staring at a setback. Five days after the Lok Sabha elections were announced, the three parties are yet to resolve their differences over the sharing of 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The bone of contention is four seats—Mumbai North West, Mumbai North East, Mumbai South Central and Sangli, which has led to friction between the Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT).

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) has approached the Supreme Court against the speaker’s order (ANI FILE)
The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) has approached the Supreme Court against the speaker’s order (ANI FILE)

The Congress, Sena (UBT) and NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) held three meetings on Thursday alone to settle their differences but failed to come to an agreement. In one of the meetings, Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole and Sena (UBT) Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut had a serious argument over the Sangli seat, insiders said.

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While the Shiv Sena (UBT) has been insisting on contesting the seat, traditionally a Congress constituency, the Congress is unwilling to concede it. The rift between the two parties is likely to intensify, as hours after the argument, Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray announced wrestler Chandrahar Patil’s name as their candidate from Sangli at a rally in the constituency. This irked the Congress leadership in the state.

This is the second seat where Thackeray chose to unilaterally declare the name of a candidate even as discussions on seat-sharing were ongoing between the three allies. Previously, he announced Amol Kirtikar’s name as the Sena (UBT) candidate from Mumbai North West, which the Congress was seeking for its former MP Sanjay Nirupam.

Congress leaders have started questioning the benefit the party will get out of the alliance when it is not getting winnable and traditional seats in the seat-sharing pact. “It is a fact that the Shiv Sena (UBT) will not be able to win the seats without our help,” said a senior Congress functionary. “Despite this, they are using arm-twisting tactics and making it difficult for us. I am unable to understand why the party leadership has surrendered before them like this.”

The Thackeray camp, in response, pointed out that it had conceded the Kolhapur seat to the Congress and would have to give up the Hatkanangale seat to ally Raju Shetti and Ramtek to the Congress. “With the Kolhapur and Hatkanangale seats going to allies, we don’t have any seat in western Maharashtra except Maval, which is partly in Konkan. That’s why we are insisting on Sangli. We expect the Congress to understand our viewpoint,” said a senior Thackeray faction leader.

The unease in the Congress derives from the fact that it has sought only two of six seats in Mumbai—Mumbai South Central and Mumbai North West—but the Sena (UBT) is unwilling to concede either one. The party has offered any two from Mumbai North Central, Mumbai North East and Mumbai North constituencies, insiders pointed out.

Meanwhile, the Congress announced its first list of seven candidates from Maharashtra. Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji, will contest from Kolhapur, while Ravindra Dhangekar will contest from Pune constituency. Dhangekar had won the Kasba Peth assembly bypoll from the BJP’s bastion in a high-voltage election in March 2023.

Three-term MLA Praniti Shinde, the daughter of former Congress chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde, will contest from Solapur constituency while Gowaal, son of another loyalist K C Padavi, has been selected to fight from the traditional Congress seat of Nandurbar. Another loyalist and veteran Vasantrao Chavan will fight from Nanded constituency while Balwant Wankhede, sitting MLA from Daryapur constituency, has been nominated to contest the Amravati seat. The seventh candidate Dr Shivaji Kalge, is an ophthalmologist who will contest from Latur constituency.

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    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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