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Ajit Pawar Calls Meeting With Legislators, Party Leaders

The NCP has aggressively staked claims over 7 seats – Baramati, Raigad, Shirur, Satara, Parbhani, Dharashiv (earlier known as Osmanabad), and Buldhana….reports Asian Lite News

As the suspense over the seat-sharing agreement continues in Maharashtra’s ruling MahaYuti, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has convened a meeting with his Nationalist Congress Party legislators and office-bearers in Pune on Tuesday to discuss the Lok Sabha poll management strategy and division of responsibilities, including coordination with the BJP and the Shiv Sena.

The meeting will take place three days after Ajit Pawar, along with the party’s Executive President Praful Patel and state unit chief Sunil Tatkare, met Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the seat-sharing arrangement.

The NCP has aggressively staked claims over 7 seats – Baramati, Raigad, Shirur, Satara, Parbhani, Dharashiv (earlier known as Osmanabad), and Buldhana. It had shown a desire to contest the Bhandara-Gondiya and Gadchiroli-Chimur seats too, but the BJP refused, citing the lack of adequate representation of NCP there, and renominated both its sitting MPs Sunil Mendhe (Bhandara-Gondiya) and Ashok Nete (Gadchiroli-Chembur-ST).

Of these 7 seats, the NCP, before its split, had won Baramati, Raigad, Shirur, and Satara, but now the party faction led by Ajit Pawar is keen to get three more seats.

Tatkare, who was elected in 2019 from Raigad, has already announced that he will contest from there again while Ajit Pawar’s wife Sunetra Pawar’s candidature has been declared from Baramati against sitting MP Supriya Sule, who is the daughter of NCP founder Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar’s cousin.

In Shirur, the party has decided to give the ticket to three-term MP Shivajirao Adhalrao, who will formally join the NCP, quitting the Shinde faction on March 26.

Adhalrao will once again be pitted against sitting MP Amol Kolhe who had defeated him in the 2019 elections.

Party spokesperson Umesh Patil confirmed that Ajit Pawar has convened a meeting on Tuesday at Pune.

“The legislators and party functionaries will be present where the President is expected to announce poll management responsibilities,” he said.

Tuesday’s meeting is important as the legislators are restless over the time taken in the announcement of seat-sharing arrangement among the BJP, the NCP, and the Shiv Sena.

Some of the party legislators, during their interaction with Ajit Pawar and other senior leaders, had asserted that if the BJP, which has already announced candidates for 23 seats, leaves them only four seats, it may find it difficult to convince the cadres to remain in the party fold.

They had also warned of an adverse impact on the party’s prospects, not just in the Lok Sabha polls, but also in the state Assembly elections later this year.

However, Tatkare has assured that the party will reach an honourable seat-sharing agreement with the BJP. He also asked them to work in close coordination with the BJP and the Shiv Sena so that MahaYuti wins 45-plus seats in Maharashtra.

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