The BJP is finding it tough to strike a balance between loyalists and outsiders in the State Legislature Council polls.
Former Congress minister Harshvardhan Patil, who joined the BJP ahead of the 2019 Assembly elections, is vying for the Pune Graduate constituency. However, state BJP leaders find themselves in a dilemma, as inhouse aspirants too are laying claim on the seat.
Former BJP minister Subhash Deshmukh is trying to push the candidature of his son Rohan Deshmukh for the Pune Graduate constituency. The elections are scheduled on December 1.
The Pune Graduate constituency has become a talking point in the Maharashtra BJP. State BJP president Chandrakant Patil shares an emotive bond, having been elected from this seat twice in the past to become MLC.
In 2019, he made a debut in the Assembly polls contesting from Kothrud. The decision led to dislodging of sitting MLA Medha Kulkarni.
A section within the BJP had urged Kulkarni to show patience then with a promise that she would be rewarded in the state council. Now, Kulkarni, who has served as professor, is staking claim on the most sought-after seat.
Insiders in the BJP indicated that if the party denies her the seat, Kulkarni could explore alternatives in other parties like the MNS. BJP sources claimed Patil loyalist Shekhar Charegaonkar could emerge a dark horse. The state party president is keen on his candidature.
Officially, nobody in the party is willing to speak on the final list of candidates for five graduate and teachers constituencies polls.
According to Patil, “The core committee of the BJP will take the final decision. The decisions are collective. It’s not decided by any one person.”
Union Minister for Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari and Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis will have to strike a consensus on the candidate for Nagpur Graduate constituency. Highly placed sources said the BJP finds itself caught between Gadkari, who wants to give a second term to sitting MLA Anil Sole, and Fadnavis, who wants to give chance to former NGP mayor Sandeep Joshi. Both Sole and Joshi are party loyalists.
A senior general secretary requesting anonymity said, “Whenever we have to select candidates there are always more candidates than seats…” He indicated that in almost every constituency the scenario is no different.
The elections for three graduate constituencies slated are Nagpur, Pune and Aurangabad. Elections for two teachers constituencies scheduled are for Pune and Amravati divisions.
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