Party has fielded again murder case accused

The Nationalist Congress Party will field Union Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel, Baramati MP and NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule and Maharashtra PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal for the Lok Sabha polls. On the first list, released on Thursday, are candidates for 18 of the 22 seats the party will contest.

In his first Lok Sabha election, Mr. Bhujbal will contest from Nasik, a seat currently held by his nephew Sameer Bhujbal. Mr. Patel has been renominated from his bastion Bhandara-Gondia and Ms. Sule, from the family stronghold, Baramati.

Surprisingly, the NCP has fielded sitting MP Padamsinh Patil from Osmanabad even though he was arrested in 2009 on charges of murdering his political rival Pawanraje Nimbalkar of the Congress. Mr. Patil was chargesheeted and is out on bail. “He has not been convicted yet and we hope he will be acquitted,” said party spokesperson Nawab Malik.

The party has fielded Navneet Rana, a former small-time actress, from Amravati (SC Reserved) even though she also faces allegations, of forging her caste certificate. “There is no truth to the allegations,” Mr. Malik said.

The NCP has won its tug-of-war with its alliance partner for the Kolhapur seat, for which it has declared a candidate. The Congress was hoping to field Sadashivrao Mandlik in the constituency. The sitting MP contested as Independent in 2009 and recently switched over to the Congress.

The Madha seat, which was won by Mr. Sharad Pawar in 2009, will go to old-timer Vijaysinh Mohite Patil. The party has not yet been able to find a suitable, strong candidate for Beed which is being contested by senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde.