Lok Sabha: Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena faces problems in candidate selection

The party replaced Hingoli candidate Hemant Patil, while dropping sitting MP Bhavana Gawli from Yavatmal-Washim 

Published - April 04, 2024 10:45 pm IST - Pune

 Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. File

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The ruling Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction is facing trouble over its candidate selection.

On April 04, the party dropped sitting its sitting Hingoli MP Hemant Patil, whose name had already been announced as the Mahayuti’s candidate, and replaced him with Baburao Kadam Kohlikar who filed his nomination on Thursday.

The party also dropped Bhavana Gawli, the Sena’s five-term MP from Yavatmal-Washim.

To placate Mr. Patil, the Shiv Sena has given a ticket to his wife, Rajashri, from Yavatmal-Washim – something which has upset Ms. Gawli. According to sources, there was fierce opposition from within the party on giving Mr. Patil and Ms. Gawli tickets this time, as their ground performance was not believed to be up to snuff.

Mr. Shinde held a rally in Hingoli support of Mr. Kohlikar wherein he targeted ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray.

However, the tenor of the Chief Minister’s address was directed more towards placating his disaffected colleagues within the party.

“We are compelled to make some adjustments in politics. But while doing this, I assure that I will not throw anyone to the winds… Everyone will get justice and respect that is due them. Both Bhavana Gawli and Hemant Patil should rest assured on this count,” Mr. Shinde said during his rally in Hingoli.

Earlier, the Shinde-led Sena had been compelled to give up the Shirur Lok Sabha seat in Pune to the Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), with Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil, who was previously in the Shinde-led Sena, now to contest on the NCP’s symbol.

Thus far, Mr. Shinde’s faction has announced candidates on eight Lok Sabha seats and are moving cautiously with the selection on other seats. The Shinde Sena has said it would not contest on anything less than 16 Lok Sabha seats.

The party’s discomfiture in its candidate selection drew jeers from the rival Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) faction, with Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut claiming that Mr. Shinde was “under the BJP’s pressure” and hence could not decide on candidates.

“They [Shinde -led Shiv Sena] still haven’t been able to officially declare its candidate for the Kalyan Lok Sabha seat in Thane, despite the area being the CM’s stronghold. It appears that he [Mr. Shinde] is scared of the BJP and is succumbing to their pressure,” alleged Mr. Raut.

In response, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said Mr. Raut’s comments were meaningless and did not merit any reply.

Shinde Sena spokesman Sanjay Shirsat, rubbishing Mr. Raut’s claims, said that the ruling Mahayuti’s aim was to win a particular seat and that it was not interested in declaring candidates in a needless hurry.

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