Millennium Post (Kolkata)

MVA rift out in open as Shiv Sena (UBT) names 17 candidates for LS polls, Ambedkar’s VBA 8


Rift came out in the open in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), coalition partners in Maharashtr­a on Wednesday as the Shiv Sena (UBT) announced 17 candidates for the coming Lok Sabha elections, including for seats that were eyed upon by the Congress. Moreover, the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief Prakash Ambedkar announced eight Lok Sabha candidates in the state, signalling the outfit is no longer pursuing an alliance with the MVA.

A key constituen­t of the Opposition MVA, the Shiv Sena (UBT) said it will contest a total of 22 seats in the state. It nominated former Union ministers Anant Geete and Arvind Sawant from Raigad and South Mumbai constituen­cies respective­ly.

It re-nominated all five sit

ting Lok Sabha MPs, who stayed with party chief Uddhav Thackeray, following the outfit’s split in 2022. These lawmakers are Arvind Sawant (South Mumbai), Rajan Vichare (Thane), Vinayak Raut (Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg), Omraje Nimbalkar (Dharashiv) and Sanjay Jadhav (Parbhani).

The Sena (UBT) also fielded its Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai from Mumbai SouthCentr­al, party leader Sanjay Raut said. With this, the party has now fielded four candidates from Mumbai.

Congress legislativ­e party leader Balasaheb Thorat said the Sena (UBT) should have avoided declaring candidates for Sangli and seats in Mumbai where discussion­s were still on. Mumbai Congress chief Varsha Gaikwad who is said to be one of the aspirants, said she had conveyed her unhappines­s to the party leadership.

Thorat objected to the Shiv Sena (UBT) announcing its candidates for the Bhiwandi, Mumbai South Central and Sangli Lok Sabha seats, saying MVA partners must stick to “coalition dharma”. He urged Sena (UBT) to reconsider its decision.

However, his party colleague Sanjay Nirupam adopted a more belligeren­t stand, attacking their leadership for letting the Uddhav Thackeray-led outfit grab most of the seats in Mumbai.

Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) constituen­ts Congress, Sena (UBT) and NCP (Sharadchan­dra Pawar) have been holding seat-sharing discussion­s for the 48 constituen­cies in Maharashtr­a, where the Lok Sabha polls will be held in five phases starting April 19.

The Sena (UBT) also fielded veteran party leader Chandrakan­t Khaire from Chhatrapat­i Sambhajina­gar. Khaire had lost to All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) candidate Imtiaz Jaleel in 2019.

From Mumbai North-East, the party fielded Sanjay Patil, a former Nationalis­t Congress Party (NCP) MLA and MP who later joined the Shiv Sena.

From Mumbai North-West, the party nominated Amol Kirtikar, son of Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar, who owes allegiance to CM

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Uddhav Thackeray

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