The Shiv Sena Friday declared its first list of 15 candidates for Maharashtra, and signalled the end of former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi’s long stint in electoral politics by denying him a ticket for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Of the total 48 seats in the state, the BJP will contest 26 seats and the Sena 22.
Joshi, 75, who had been trying to stage a comeback, was categorically told there was no constituency for him in the coming elections. His open rebellion against Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is seen as the primary reason for the party closing all options for his rehabilitation.
Joshi’s home constituency, Mumbai South Central, has been allotted to Rahul Shewale, a young corporator from the party in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Shewale is also the chairman of the all-powerful standing committee of the civic body. The remote chances of finding a seat in Kalyan for Joshi, following the defection of sitting MP Anand Paranjpe to the NCP, was also lost with the party deciding to field another young candidate, Shrikant Shinde, son of senior party leader Eknath Shinde. A close aide of Joshi said, “Whatever little chance he had to cling on to electoral politics after being denied a Rajya Sabha seat is lost now.” The Sena, which has a stronghold in Thane, has fielded Rajan Vichare.
A senior Sena functionary said, “The party has taken a decision to consider renominating sitting members of parliament who still command a strong base in their respective constituencies. In places where the party lost, it decided to put emphasis on younger candidates. It also signals the emergence of Aditya Thackeray brigade in the organisation.”
In 2009, the Sena won 11 out of the 22 seat it contested. The party has fielded Arvind Sawant in Mumbai South to taken on sitting Congress MP and minister Milind Deora. In Mumbai North Central, senior leader Gajanan Kirtikar will be the candidate against Congress’ former minister and sitting MP Gurudas Kamat.
Some of the sitting MPs who have been renominated include Bhawana Gawli (Yavatmal), Prataprao Jadhav (Buldhana), Anant Geete (Raigad) and Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil (Shirur), Anandrao Adsul (Amravati),Subash Wankhede (Hingoli) and Chandrakant Khaire (Aurangabad).
The party has, however, decided to let go of two seats — Hathkanangli and Satara — from its existing quota for alliance partners Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and Republican Party of India, respectively. In Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, the party has decided to field Vinayak Raut.
Birla said her campaign this time is “very similar” to the last time.