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regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

Lok Sabha elections: Stage set for Supriya Sule vs Sunetra Pawar in Baramati

Baramati is one of the 10 seats the NCP (SP) will contest in keeping with the seat-sharing arrangement that was unveiled by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) on Tuesday

Anita Joshua New Delhi Published 11.04.24, 05:24 AM
Supriya Sule

Supriya Sule File Photo

The NCP faction led by Sharad Pawar on Wednesday announced the candidature of outgoing MP Supriya Sule from Baramati in Maharashtra, setting the stage for a face-off within the Pawar family.

Sule has been elected from Baramati — a seat that has been under the influence of her father Sharad Pawar for over four decades — thrice, but this time she has a tough fight ahead with the breakaway group of the party deciding to field her cousin and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s wife Sunetra from the family pocket borough.

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Though it was more or less a foregone conclusion, the formal announcement of Sule’s candidature was made in the third list of the NCP (SP) that was released on Wednesday morning.

Baramati is one of the 10 seats the NCP (SP) will contest in keeping with the seat-sharing arrangement that was unveiled by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) on Tuesday.

The number is down from the 22 it had contested in Maharashtra in alliance with the Congress in 2019.

The Congress has settled for 17 seats, leaving 21 to the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) after much wrangling over Sangli, Mumbai South-Central and Bhiwandi. While the Sena will be contesting the first two, the NCP (SP) will fight from Bhiwandi.

There is considerable heartburn in the Congress state unit over the high command yielding to the Sena on Sangli, a Congress bastion till 2014 — and Mumbai South-Central, and to the NCP on Bhiwandi. Both the Sena and the NCP (SP) had announced candidates for these seats last week.

Moreover, the compulsion of keeping the alliance intact forced the Congress's hand, considering Maharashtra has the second largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha and the two coalitions appear evenly poised in the state.

There are indications that former chief minister Vasantdada Patil’s grandson Vishal Patil will file his nomination from Sangli as an Independent as the local Congress unit has been batting for his candidature. Congress MLA Vishwajeet Kadam, who has been steadfast in his demand that the party should not yield to the Sena on Sangli, urged the MVA leadership to reconsider its decision regarding the seat.

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