Rajendra Gavit joins Shiv Sena, will contest from Palghar

Party fields Narendra Patil from Satara constituency to take on Udayan Raje Bhosale

Updated - March 27, 2019 12:28 am IST

Published - March 27, 2019 12:27 am IST - Mumbai

Happy family:  Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray welcomes Rajendra Gavit into the party on Tuesday.

Happy family: Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray welcomes Rajendra Gavit into the party on Tuesday.

The Shiv Sena on Tuesday put an end to ambiguity over its candidate for the Palghar constituency. Sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Rajendra Gavit joined the Sena on Tuesday and his candidature from Palghar was announced soon after.

The Sena had initially promised the candidature to Srinivas Wanga, son of late BJP MP from Palghar Chintaman Wanga. However, Mr. Wanga has agreed to contest the Assembly election now. With this, the Sena has announced candidates for all 23 seats it is contesting.

The Sena and BJP are contesting the Parliamentary elections together, with the BJP contesting 25 seats and Sena 23 seats in Maharashtra. The Sena had announced its list of 21 candidates from Maharashtra last Friday in a press conference at Matoshree.

Of the two remaining seats, the Sena has fielded Navi Mumbai MLC and Mathadi workers leader Narendra Patil from the Satara constituency. Mr. Patil will take on local NCP leader Udayan Raje Bhosale.

Meanwhile, the Palghar constituency had been a bone of contention between the two parties before the alliance. After Mr. Wanga’s father’s demise in 2018, BJP nominated Mr. Gavit, who had defected from the Congress, for the by-elections. Sena had nominated Mr. Wanga. Mr. Gavit defeated Mr. Wanga by a slim margin of around 29,000 votes. However, with the alliance in place, the parties did not want to upset either of their candidates.

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, while addressing the media on Tuesday, said, “While campaigning [for the by-election], I had publicly announced that I will send Mr. Wanga to the Parliament. But he has also taken stock of the situation and wants to work in the Assembly… Though Mr. Wanga has not asked for it, I give him my commitment, I will send him to Assembly.”

Mr. Thackeray, welcomed Mr. Gavit into the family, and s aid that the candidate has done good work as an MP. “This must be the only alliance where we took the seat and the candidate. A saffron family has come together happily. We will win all seats in Maharashtra,” he said.

Mr. Gavit is likely to contest against Baliram Jadhav of the Hitendra Thakur-led Bahujan Vikas Aghadi. Mr. Jadhav’s candidature, which is yet to be announced, is supported by Congress, NCP and CPI (M).

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