New Delhi, Sep 26 : With less than a month left for the 288-member Maharashtra assembly elections, the Central Election Committee of the Congress on Thursday discussed over 45 seats taking the total number of finalised candidates to 85.
The Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting was held at the residence of Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, which was attended by several party leaders such as Ahmed Patel, Ambika Sonia, Joytiraditya Scindia, Mallikarjun Kharge, K.C. Venugopal, Veerappa Moily, Balasaheb Thorat and several others.
After the meeting, Tharot told IANS, “Today we finalised over 45 seats taking the total number of finalised candidates to 85.” Tharot, who is also the Maharashtra Congress chief, said the party would clear the candidates for all the assembly seats in the coming days.
“The party’s Screening Committee will meet again to discuss the candidates for the rest of the seats soon,” he said, adding the party will contest over 150 seats.
The Congress and the NCP have decided to contest 125 seats each, leaving the rest for smaller allies.
The Election Commission on Saturday announced assembly polls in the state on October 21. The vote count will take place on October 24, it said.
The Congress’ CEC also met on September 13 in which the party decided to field all its sitting MLAS in the elections. During the last CEC meeting, the party had disccused over 50 seats and finalised over 90 per cent of them.
The Congress and the NCP had parted ways in 2014 Assembly polls after sharing power for 15 years in the state.
On Enforcement Directorate (ED) registering a money laundering case against former Union Minister and NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Balasaheb Thorat said, “Sharad Pawar is one of the biggest leaders of farmers and others. He was named in the ED FIR despite not even having held any position in the co-operative bank. This speaks for itself — he will make a huge comeback.”
The Congress has faced desertions in the last few months as several of its leaders have joined the ruling BJP.
In June, senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who was also the leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, resigned as MLA. After him another Congress MLA and former Minister Abdul Sattar quit as a legislator and told media he would also join the BJP along with 10 other MLAs.
Earlier this month, senior party leaders such as Kripa Shankar Singh, once projected as the Congress’ begign north Indian face in Mumbai, quit the party.
The Congress was ousted from power by the BJP and the Shiv Sena in 2014 assembly polls. The BJP had won 122 seats and its ally Shiv Sena 63 seats.
The Congress could manage to win only 42 seats, while the NCP won 41 seats. Twenty seats went to others.