Sena (UBT) firm on contesting Sangli Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra

The Congress, an ally in the Maha Vikas Aghadi, says it is also determined to field a candidate from the constituency

March 28, 2024 11:10 pm | Updated 11:10 pm IST - Mumbai

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut | Photo Credit: PTI

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut on March 28 reiterated his party’s determination to contest the Sangli Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra, stating the importance of not inadvertently aiding the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

This stance follows concerns expressed by their alliance partner, the Congress, regarding Sena (UBT)’s recent candidate announcement for Sangli and Mumbai South-Central constituencies.

Despite opposition within the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition, Mr. Raut highlighted the necessity of compromise in alliances, citing instances where the Sena yielded seats to the Congress. The Sena (UBT) has decided to field wrestler Chandrahar Patil in Sangli and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai in Mumbai South-Central, while the Congress was planning to field Vishal Patil, the grandson of former Chief Minister Vasantdada Patil, and Mumbai Congress president Varsha Gaikwad from those constituencies, respectively.

The Sena (UBT) on Wednesday announced its first list of 17 candidates across three regions: Mumbai, Konkan and Marathwada. The Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena, the Congress, and the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) are partners in the Opposition bloc MVA in Maharashtra.

He said that the Congress party had taken Ramtek so his party would contest from Mumbai North. The BJP has fielded Union Minister Piyush Goyal from the seat. “In an alliance, there is a need to strengthen and expand it, not individual parties,” he said.

The Congress has said that the MVA partners must stick to “coalition dharma” and asked the Sena (UBT) to reconsider its decision. “Announcing candidates while discussions are still on is an insult to Aghadi dharma,” Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat and Vijay Wadettiwar said. Mr. Thorat said his party was also firm on contesting from Sangli, Bhiwandi, and Mumbai’s South-Central.

Mr. Raut said, “The Congress must lead the nation and we support the party in its endeavour. Will Congress give up the fight against the BJP just for one seat (Sangli)? If the Opposition alliance stays together as a cohesive unit, the MVA can easily win the Sangli seat.” He added, “If someone has other intentions to help the BJP indirectly, we will not allow that to happen.”

Maharashtra sends 48 MPs to the Lok Sabha, the largest number after Uttar Pradesh with 80 seats. The State will vote in five phases starting from April 19.

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