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Maharashtra Assembly polls: Congress prepares list of candidates

NEW DELHI: Congress is said to have prepared the list of most of its candidates for Maharashtra Assembly polls which could be out tomorrow amid expectations that the seat sharing arrangement with its 15-year old NCP would be clinched soon.

Party sources also indicated that there was a view that kin of senior leaders should not be fielded and two tickets from a family should not be given barring exceptional circumstances.

It can be possible only both of the candidates are already sitting MLAs and in a winning condition or there is an exceptional scenario, where somebody has a sure shot chance of winning the seat minus any other credible alternative.

The talk in Congress circles was that several senior leaders were keen to give tickets to their kith and kin, including former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who was looking to field his wife Amita from Nanded, Congress Campaign Committee chief Narayan Rane was looking for a ticket for his son Nitesh from Konkan while PCC chief Manikrao Thakre wants his son Rahul to be given a ticket from Yavatmal.

Others seeking a ticket to their kith and kin include Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, who wants a ticket for one of his nephews from Ahmednagar, while Transport minister Madhukar Chavan wants his son to replace him as the party candidate from Tuljapur and Shivajirao Deshmukh wants his son to contest from Shirala.

AICC sources indicated that while one of the family members could be considered for a ticket, the leadership is not warm to the idea of multiple members of a family contesting as it demoralises loyal workers.

A senior party functionary speaking on the condition of anonymity said that since the inauspicious Shradh Paksha ends by tomorrow noon, the time by which the seat dispute between Congress is also likely to be resolved after meetings in Maharashtra, the first list carrying most of the candidates’ name could be out by the evening.

September 27 is the deadline for filing nominations. “After all candidates have to be given at least a day or two to prepare for filing nominations. So we have to declare all our candidates latest by September 25,” the functionary said.

Indications of the alliance having been salvaged emerged today after meetings with Congress and NCP leaders.

Asserting that it would not be responsible for any break up of alliance with NCP, PCC chief Manikrao Thakre in Maharashtra today asked the Sharad Pawar-led party to show flexibility and accept the seat-sharing proposal mooted by it.

Congress and NCP leaders held an unscheduled meeting this morning there and exchanged their respective proposals with regard to distribution of seats ahead of the October 15 Assembly polls.