NCP Chief Pawar won't contest 2019 Lok Sabha polls: Awhad
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar will not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, party leader Jitendra Awhad told reporters in Mumbai today. Putting to rest all speculations that Pawar will contest from Pune Lok Sabha seat, Awhad said that the party chief had already made it clear in 2014 that he will not contest the Lok Sabha polls again. Here's more.
"Pawar has told the party not to consider his name as he will not be a candidate. In today's meeting, Pawar said he is not in the (LS) race and nobody should propose his name," said Awhad. The MLA also denied that the NCP chief had opposed the candidature of Parth Pawar, son of senior leader Ajit Pawar, for the Mawal Lok Sabha seat.
Continuing on Parth Pawar, Awhad said, "Preliminary discussions are on. The name will be finalized after discussions with party workers." The former Union Agriculture Minister, Jitendra Awhad, is currently holding a two-day meeting with NCP leaders and functionaries at the party's Maharashtra unit office to discuss candidates for the Lok Sabha (LS) polls scheduled for next year. The meeting started today morning.
In another development, former Maharashtra NCP chief Sunil Tatkare said that he was willing to step aside if Bhaskar Jadhav, another former state party chief, was keen to contest from Raigad Lok Sabha seat. Tatkare had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Raigad, near Mumbai, against Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete. Geete is the Heavy Industries Minister in the Narendra Modi government.
"I'll work for his (Jadhav) win. If Jadhav is interested, I'm willing to withdraw. I'm not interested in contesting Lok Sabha polls. I want to ensure the victory of a secular government. If Jadhav is interested, I am supporting him," Tatkare said. The NCP has demanded a 50-50 seat-sharing formula for the state's 48 Lok Sabha seats in its alliance talks with the Congress.
Congress and NCP had entered into an alliance in 2014. While Congress contested 27 seats, NCP put up candidates on 21 LS seats. Pawar will discuss the current political situation in all the seats and the process of candidate selection, senior NCP leaders said yesterday.
NCP has also called leaders from Jalna, Aurangabad, Dhule, and Hatkanangle, since the party plans to stake claim to these four seats, party spokesperson Nawab Malik had said. The Congress had fought from these four seats in the 2014 general elections. The Hatkanangle LS seat is currently held by Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana's Raju Shetti. He quit the NDA and allied with the Congress recently.