The BJP on Saturday announced the names of six more candidates from Maharashtra. Four sitting MPs — representing Jalgaon, Dindori, Solapur and Pune Lok Sabha constituencies — have been dropped. The party also announced candidates for the Nanded and Baramati seats, held by the Congress and NCP, respectively.
The decision to drop the four sitting MPs was taken to buck anti-incumbency and promote fresh candidates with higher elective merit, according to sources. The party has fielded sitting MLA Smita Wagh as its candidate for the Jalgaon Lok Sabha seat, dropping sitting MP A T Nana Patil. Click here for more election news
In Dindori Lok Sabha seat, the BJP replaced sitting MP Harishchandra Chavan with Dr Bharati Pawar. A former NCP vice-president, Pawar joined the BJP on Friday.
The party sprung a surprise by fielding Dr Jaysidheshwar Swami of the famous Siddheshwar Mutt in Solapur, dropping sitting MP Sharad Bansode. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Bansode had defeated Congress leader and former Union minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. However, BJP leaders were not happy with the performance of Bansode in the last five years as an MP, sources said.
In this year’s elections, Solapur, which is a reserved seat for Scheduled Caste, will see a straight fight between Congress candidate Shinde and BJP’s Swami. For the Nanded Lok Sabha seat, the BJP has fielded Pratap Chikkalikar, who was once a close aide of former Chief Minister and MPCC president Ashok Chavan. However, he parted ways following sharp differences. Later, he joined the Shiv Sena. In 2017, ahead of the Nanded-Waghala local bodies elections, he joined the BJP.
The BJP has dropped sitting MP Anil Shirole from the Pune seat. Senior Cabinet minister Girish Bapat is BJP’s candidate for Pune. In Baramati, BJP’s candidate is Kanchan Rahul Kul, who will be pitted against NCP’s sitting MP Supriya Sule.
In 2014, Rashtriya Samaj Party chief Mahadeo Jankhar contested the Baramati Lok Sabha seat and lost to NCP’s Supriya Sule by 70,000 votes. The BJP had then given Baramati seat to its ally Rashtriya Samaj Party.