Alliances’ new task: Horses for courses

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Alliances’ new task: Horses for courses

Friday, 15 March 2019 | PNS | New Delhi

Alliances’ new task: Horses for courses

Suitable pick for suitable seat a moot point; suspense remains on Kirti, Shatrughan

After both the NDA and Opposition parties nearly formalised their respective alliance for the Lok Sabha polls, the focus has now shifted to the selection of candidates amid intense lobbying by the aspirants.

The central election committee (CEC) of the BJP is expected to meet on March 16 and 18 to decide the names of candidates for the seats going to the polls in the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls, beginning on April 11.

The CEC may announce its first list of candidates for Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh on March 16. Names of some candidates for other States going to polls in the first phase on April 11 also may be announced on that day. Names of more candidates will be announced on March 18. BJP chief Amit Shah on Wednesday had personally met ticket aspirants and received their credentials.

Around 18 candidates of Maharashtra will be announced in the first list. “Talks on another 4-5 seats, including those that the BJP could not win in 2014, are still going on. If they are not finalised by then, those names would be announced later,” the leader said.

The State BJP core committee meeting was held in Mumbai on Thursday, where names of probable candidates were recommended to the BJP’s national parliamentary committee.

“Once the national committee finalises the nominees, the final list will be announced on March 16,” another senior BJP leader said. With 48 seats, Maharashtra sends the second highest number of Parliamentarians after Uttar Pradesh, which has total 80 constituencies. Presently, the BJP has 21 Lok Sabha members from Maharashtra, followed by Shiv Sena’s. The Central leadership is also expected to release the list of 22 of 28 Karnataka Lok Sabha seats on March 16. The State core committee will meet on March 15 to finalise the names of candidates which will be sent to the CEC.

Meanwhile, the NCP announced its first list of candidates on Thursday. Party chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule figures in the first list of 12 candidates. The list does not include the name of Pawar’s grand nephew Parth Pawar, as it does not mention Maval constituency from where the young politician is likely to be fielded.

Sule has been renominated from the Pawar family turf Baramati, which she represents in the outgoing Lok Sabha.

Prominent among those named are former Irrigation Minister Sunil Tatkare from Raigad, former State Minister Gulabrao Devkar from Jalgaon, Udyanraje Bhosale from Satara, Dhananjay Mhadik from Kolhapur, Sanjay Dina Patil (Mumbai North East) and Anand Paranjpe from Thane.

Others in the list include Rajendra Shingane from Buldhana, Rajesh Vitekar from Parbhani and Babaji Balaram Patil from the Kalyan seat. The NCP has left the Hatkanangale seat for Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna chief Raju Shetti. The Pawar-led party has fielded Mohammad Faizal from Lakshadweep.

The party has so far not announced its candidate for the contentious Ahmednagar and Madha seats. Pawar was expected to contest from Madha, but recently he declared he won’t fight polls.

The Opposition Mahagathbandhan in Bihar is also likely to announce the seat-sharing arrangement in Patna on March 17. There the constituents of the grand alliance will waste no time in releasing their list of candidates, which are nearly ready.

Suspense remains on the candidature of suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha. Azad, who represents Darbhanga in Lok Sabha, formally joined Congress last week, but Sinha is yet to make his choice between the Congress and the RJD. A Lok Sabha member from Patna Shahib constituency, the Shotgun has repeatedly asserted he would contest from his old seat.

Sinha may have kept suspense over his choice of party, but there are enough indications that he will seek re-election on the ticket of either of them. However, Azad will have to wait for the outcome of talk between the Congress and the RJD before he knows his fate.

The RJD reportedly is planning to field Md Ali Ashraf Fatmi, who has been a longtime associate of Lalu Prasad Yadav.

Meanwhile, BSP chief Mayawati on Thursday gave final touches to the list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections and discussed other important electoral issues at a party meeting in Lucknow.

The BSP president held a meeting with important district and division-level leaders in Uttar Pradesh, a party release issued here said.

According to it, names of party candidates and other important electoral and political issues were discussed at the meeting.

The decisions taken at the meeting will be carried forward after discussions with the top leadership of alliance partner Samajwadi Party (SP), the release said.

According to the feedback received during the meeting, the appeals of BSP and SP leaders have had a good impact on the people, it said.

Workers of all the three parties in the alliance, including the Rashtriya Lok Dal, have gotten into election mode, setting aside their differences.

After taking the feedback, Mayawati directed her partymen to ensure strict compliance with the model code of conduct.

She also directed BSP workers to ensure that birth anniversaries of party ideologues Kanshi Ram and Bhimrao Ambedkar on March 15 and April 14 respectively are observed in accordance with the poll code.

According to the release, Mayawati asked party workers and leaders to work wholeheartedly to ensure the victory of the BSP-SP-RLD coalition, the release said.

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