Mumbai, Feb 14 (IANS) Nationalist Congress Party supremo Sharad Pawar will re-enter electoral politics by contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls from Maharashtra’s Madha seat, party leader Praful Patel said here on Thursday.
Addressing the media here after Pawar discussed preparations for the Lok Sabha polls with top party leaders, Patel said: “At the earlier meeting, we had requested him (Pawar) to reconsider his decision and agree to contest from Madha. He has accepted our request.”
On Wednesday, IANS had first reported Pawar’s plans to return to the electoral battlefield, after a senior state leader confirmed the development.
Patel also expressed optimism that the Congress-NCP-led Mahagatbandan would win 35 out of total 48 seats in the state.
At Thursday’s meeting, the NCP has reportedly finalised the names of a majority of its Lok Sabha candidates.
“We (NCP and Congress) have come to an informal understanding about the allocation of seats. We are discussing it with other constituents of Mahaghatbhandan. We plan to declare all the candidates of the Mahagatbandan in a week or so,” a senior party leader said.
A Rajya Sabha Member since 2014, Pawar had earlier been elected to Lok Sabha seven times.
Six terms out of these were from his home constituency Baramati in Pune but he shifted to Madha, created in 2008 after delimitation of seats was implemented, in 2009. He chose not to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and entered parliament through the Rajya Sabha.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ridiculed Pawar’s decision, attributing it to “the NCP’s realisation” that if he did not contest the polls, then the party would not retain even the four seats it bagged in 2014.
“The NCP is finding it difficult to retain even the four seats it had won in the last election. That’s why Pawar has decided to contest,” state BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari tweeted.
In 2014, in Maharashtra, the Congress and NCP had fielded 26 and 21 candidates respectively.
Of these, they won two and four seats respectively, in view of the strong BJP wave then.
Later in the 2014 Assembly elections, both contested separately and suffered another massive drubbing at the hands of the BJP and the Shiv Sena.