Throwing his hat in the ring, retired bureaucrat Shyamsunder Shinde has challenged former chief minister Ashok Chavan in the latter’s backyard in the upcoming Legislative Council elections. Shinde has filed his nomination from the Nanded-Waghala Municipal Corporation constituency. Chavan’s close aide Amarnath Rajurkar, the incumbent MLC from the local body, is seeking re-election on the Congress ticket, according to party sources.
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While Rajurkar will start as a favourite to win the poll given Chavan’s clout over the local body, Shinde is not shying away from the contest. After filing his nomination as an independent candidate, Shinde is now reaching out to all anti-Chavan forces in Nanded, claiming that he had support cutting across party lines.
When contacted Tuesday, Shinde claimed that he had the support of six MLAs from the region, including Chavan’s bete noire Prataprao Chikhlikar.
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The former bureaucrat, who had courted some controversies while serving as a public servant, had retired as the state’s excise commissioner a year and a half ago.
The poll battle has got even more intriguing with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party failing to stitch a pact so far. Besides Nanded-Waghala, elections to the Legislative Council from five other local bodies, including Gondia-Bhandara, Sangli Satara, Pune, Jalgaon and Yavatmal are scheduled to be held on November 19.
Even as leaders from both parties had earlier declared that they were in talks to forge a pre-poll pact, things appeared to go downhill Tuesday, when the NCP declared the party’s candidature for three seats — Gondia-Bhandara (Rajendra Jain), Sangli Satara(Shekhar Gore), and Pune(Anil Bhonsale).
Sources said the talks were stalled after the Congress staked claim to Gondia-Bhandara and Sangli-Satara seats.
The Nationalist COngress Party, on the other hand, denied the claim since it had won these seats the last time. While the NCP camp says it was willing to leave the Jalgaon seat — currently held by the BJP — for the Congress, the latter is not keen on this seat.
Both the parties have also locked horns over the candidature from Yavatmal, where NCP’s Sandeep Bajoria is the outgoing MLC, but the Congress fancies its chances.
Late evening, the Congress too declared that its candidates had filed nominations from Gondia-Bhandara (Praful Aggarwal), Sangli-Satara (Mohan Kadam) and Nanded-Waghala (Amarnath Rajurkar), even as sources close to Chavan said the Congress was still hoping to fork out an understanding with the NCP before the last day for withdrawal of the nominations.