Tension within Maha Vikas Aghadi in open after Uddhav Sena’s poll list | Latest News India

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) declared the first list of candidates for 17 Lok Sabha seats on Wednesday, sparking unease in the Opposition’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) with ally Congress publicly urging it to reconsider candidates for three seats over which it said talks were still on.

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray addresses to supporters in Jansanvad rally at Miraj in Sangli on Thursday. (Hindustan Times)
Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray addresses to supporters in Jansanvad rally at Miraj in Sangli on Thursday. (Hindustan Times)

Sena (UBT) renominated all five MPs who stood by Thackeray when the party suffered a vertical split in 2022 and fielded eight fresh faces. Four former MPs will also fight on Sena (UBT) tickets.

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Senior leader Sanjay Raut said the party will contest 22 of the state’s 48 Lok Sabha seats. “The remaining names will be announced in a couple of days,” he said.

But the announcement of Sena (UBT) candidates from Sangli, an erstwhile Congress stronghold, Mumbai North West and Mumbai South Central brought to the fore already simmering tensions within the MVA, the three-party alliance that ruled Maharashtra between 2019 and 2022 before the Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party suffered splits.

Senior Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat and Mumbai unit chief Varsha Gaikwad publicly expressed their displeasure, with the former urging its alliance partner to reconsider its decision. On the other hand, Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam, who was eyeing the Mumbai North West seat, threatened the party leadership and said he would look for other options within a week. “I am waiting for a decision, after which I am open to all options,” said Nirupam.

A delegation of Congress leaders from Sangli met the party’s general secretary KC Venugopal to present their case. However, state Congress chief Nana Patole ridiculed Nirupam, saying, “We don’t attach any importance to such utterances. Congress gave the person enough opportunities in the past.”

Reacting to the flutter in Congress, Raut said, “We gave up the Kolhapur seat for Congress. Our policy is to ensure a Congress prime minister in the country. In Maharashtra, Shiv Sena (UBT) will be the big brother.”

The Congress has already announced candidates on 12 seats.

The Sharad Pawar faction of the NCP is likely to fight in 10seats. It has yet to make an official announcement on candidates.

The Congress is likely to fight in 16 seats.

In 2019, the undivided Sena fought on 23 seats in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and won 18. Of that pool, 13 MPs joined chief minister Shinde in 2022.

The five MPs loyal to Thackeray were Arvind Sawant from Mumbai South, Rajan Vichare from Thane, Vinayak Raut from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Omraje Nimbalkar from Osmanabad, and Sanjay Jadhav from Parbhani.

Sawant won the Mumbai South constituency in 2014 and 2019 elections. The party picked Anil Desai to contest from Mumbai South Central and Amol Kirtikar from Mumbai North West; both won their constituencies in alliance with BJP in 2019. Former MP Sanjay Patil was fielded from Mumbai North East.

“Shiv Sena (UBT) should not have announced candidates for Sangli and Mumbai seats where the MVA allies are yet to reach a consensus. We have expressed unhappiness with our party leadership and will take further steps as directed by the latter,” said Gaikwad.

Thorat added, “It is the responsibility of all parties to follow coalition dharma when the talks within MVA are still on.”

Maharashtra, with 48 Lok Sabha seats, is likely to witness among the fiercest fights in the Lok Sabha elections. The MVA is squaring off against the ruling Mahayuti, led by the BJP and also comprising the Shinde faction of the Sena and the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP. The troubles for the MVA don’t augur well for the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, which is facing troubles in Bihar.

The developments came on a day the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) snapped seat talks, with its chief Prakash Ambedkar announcing the candidacy of eight individuals for the Lok Sabha. Ambedkar accused the MVA allies of attempting to exploit his party to further dynastic politics.

The VBA nominated Sanjay Kewat for Bhandara-Gondia, Hitesh Madavi for Gadchiroli, Rajesh Bele for Chandrapur, Vasant Magar for Buldhana, and Ambedkar, a former MP from Akola, from his old seat. Ambedkar won from the Akola seat in 1998 and 1999, but has lost to the BJP in every election since then.Additionally, Prakajkta Pillewan was fielded from Amravati. Rajendra Salunkhe from Wardha, and Khemsingh Pawar from Yavatmal-Washim.

“I and Jarange Patil are coming together as social alliance for political transformation. Jarange Patil will speak to his community month end and will finalise further candidates after that. We will support Congress candidate in Nagpur and will support OBC federation in Sangli” said Prakash Ambedkar.

In 2019, the VBA allied with the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), but failed to win any seat. The alliance won one seats and was estimated to have hurt the Congress and the undivided NCP in around eight other seats.

Some Congress leaders indicated that the option of a friendly fight with the Sena (UBT) in Sangli was open. “We have no other option if Shiv Sena (UBT) remains adamant. It is our seat – and we have a strong candidate who has a chance to get elected,” said a Congress leader, requesting anonymity.

The Congress is looking to field Vishal Patil, who fought against BJP’s sitting MP Sanjaykaka Patil in 2019 as the Raju Shetti-led Swabhimani Paksha candidate but lost by around 150,000 votes. The party won the Sangli seat consistently from 1962 till 2009 but lost the last two polls to the BJP.


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