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RS polls: Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, Sanjay Pawar file nominations, Congress yet to choose candidate

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut speaks to media after filing nomination for Rajya Sabha member, in Mumbai on May 26, 2022.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut speaks to media after filing nomination for Rajya Sabha member, in Mumbai on May 26, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Shiv Sena’s candidates for the coming Rajya Sabha polls - Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar - filed their nominations on Thursday. Mr. Raut remarked that the Sena would win both seats.

Mr. Raut, the Sena’s chief spokesperson and an old Rajya Sabha hand, filed his nomination in the presence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and senior Congressman Balasaheb Thorat with all Sena legislators and MPs in attendance.

“I can say without doubt that this time both candidates of the Sena will go to the Rajya Sabha. All four MVA candidates will coast to victory,” he stated.

Six seats from Maharashtra

Of the 57 Rajya Sabha seats across the country going to the polls on June 10, six are from Maharashtra. Going by the respective numerical strength of the major parties in the State, the Opposition BJP, which is numerically the single largest party (with 106 seats) is set to get two seats with 42 votes deciding each seat, while the three ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ coalition parties — the Shiv Sena (56 seats), the NCP (53 seats) and the Congress (44 seats seats) — are set to get one seat each.

While Mr. Raut has already served three terms as a Rajya Sabha member, helming the Sena in the House since 2004, this is Mr. Sanjay Pawar’s first shot at national politics.

Prior to this, Mr. Pawar has barely been known outside Kolhapur. He has been active primarily in local and regional politics. Beginning as a humble Shiv Sena shakha pramukh (‘branch head’), he has served as a corporator thrice in the Kolhapur civic body. He has been especially aggressive in expressing the Sena’s line on the thorny Maharashtra-Karnataka border problem question, with the party long advocating the return of Belagavi, which has a significant Marathi-speaking population, to Maharashtra.

‘MVA is one entity’

Taking jibes at the BJP on the occasion, Mr. Raut said the MVA was one entity and that it would win all the four seats.

“Let the BJP prop up candidates on the other seats…If they think they can win more seats by unleashing Central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI, then they are welcome to keep trying as it is a democracy. The Shiv Sena is not scared of the BJP’s pressure tactics,” Mr. Raut said, commenting on the series of recent ED raids on Sena leaders, including Anil Parab.

He further said the raids on MVA leaders by Central agencies were being carried out “in the spirit of revenge.”

“The public in Maharashtra and across the country are well aware by now of the BJP’s machinations…Whenever there is an election or they went to destabilise a government, Central agencies are duly unleashed,” he observed.

While sources said that senior NCP leader and former Union Minister Praful Patel was likely to be the party’s Rajya Sabha candidate and is expected file his nomination on May 31, the Congress, however, has yet to decide on the choice of its candidate.

Sambhajiraje’s stand

Earlier, Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati - an influential Maratha community leader and a direct descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji - had spelled out his decision to contest the election as an independent after his term as a President-nominated Rajya Sabha member ended. He had appealed to all parties to back him, with Mr. Sharad Pawar being the first to announce his support for the Kolhapur royal.

However, the Shiv Sena soon staked claim for the sixth seat, undercutting Mr. Sambhajiraje’s chances. While he later held parleys with Mr. Thackeray and expressed confidence that the Chief Minister would support him, he remained adamant on contesting as an independent while the Sena remained firm that the royal had to contest as a Sena candidate.

Following this, the Sena snubbed Mr. Sambjaraje and announced Mr. Sanjay Pawar’s candidature. As per sources, with his chances of winning the poll now ruined, Mr. Sambhajiraje could pull out of the race.

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Printable version | May 26, 2022 6:14:30 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/rs-polls-shiv-senas-sanjay-raut-sanjay-pawar-file-nominations-congress-yet-to-choose-candidate/article65463413.ece