THE CONGRESS plan to cement a grand alliance against the BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra suffered another setback on Friday, with the inclusion of the CPI(M) in the anti-BJP combine now seeming improbable. The breaking point for talks with the CPI(M) came when Sharad Pawar-led NCP, which has already firmed up the alliance with Congress, released its second list of candidate.
The CPI(M) had been demanding north Maharashtra’s Dindori seat from the NCP’s quota of seats. On Friday, the NCP nominated its candidate Dhanraj Mahale for the seat.
Objecting to the development, CPI(M)’s sole MLA from Maharashtra, Jiva Pandu Gavit — an aspirant from Dindori — accused the NCP of taking the CPI(M)’s clout in the region for granted. “The least they (NCP) could have done was consult us before nominating their own candidate. We were in talks for the seat,” said Gavit. “We have conveyed our displeasure to our central leadership.”
Stating that the party’s district-level committee in Dindori has already adopted a resolution nominating him, Gavit said he was certain to contest from the seat.
Gavit had contested from the seat in 2009, polling over 1.05 lakh votes, which made up 15 per cent of all votes. In 2014, CPI(M) had fielded Hemant Waghere from the constituency, who had polled 7 per cent votes. The constituency has remained loyal to the BJP in the two Lok Sabha polls held thereafter. In 2009, when Gavit had contested, the NCP had lost by 37,347 votes, which was much less than the votes Gavit had poll.
After declaring nominations for 11 seats on Thursday, the NCP released a list of five other candidates Friday, including Dhanraj Mahale from Dindori. As expected, party chief Sharad Pawar’s grandson Parth — the son of former state deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar — will contest from Maval. He is expected to square up against Shiv Sena’s sitting MP Shrirang Barne.