Fissures in MVA over MLC polls? Congress asks Uddhav to withdraw 2 nominees from race

Fissures in MVA over MLC polls? Congress asks Uddhav to withdraw 2 nominees from race

Mumbai | The Congress on Tuesday expressed displeasure over Uddhav Thackeray 'unilaterally' announcing Shiv Sena (UBT) candidates for the upcoming Legislative Council elections in the Konkan Graduates and Nashik Teachers' constituencies, demanding their withdrawal from the race.

Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole claimed he had attempted to contact Thackeray when the candidates were announced, but the Shiv Sena (UBT) chief was abroad.

As his remarks earlier in the day caused a flutter and strengthened the perception of a potential rift in Maha Vikas Aghadi, Patole said in the evening that Naseem Khan of Congress and Thackeray spoke over the phone.

"After today's presser, a telephonic conversation has taken place between Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT). Naseem bhai (former Congress MLA Naseem Khan) and Uddhav Thackeray spoke over the phone, and I think a clear solution will emerge," he added.

Patole had also said that Thackeray selected a candidate finalised by Congress for the Nashik Teachers' constituency without consulting coalition partners.

The biennial elections to four legislative council seats- Mumbai Graduates constituency, Konkan Graduates Constituency, Mumbai Teachers constituency and Nashik Teachers constituency-became necessary as the terms of sitting members are expiring in July. Voting will be held on June 26 and results will be declared on July 1.

"Uddhav Thackeray announced the candidates for the Konkan Graduates and Nashik Teachers constituencies without holding any discussions with us. We expected that the candidates and seats will be finalised only after holding deliberations with (Maha Vikas Aghadi) constituents," Patole told reporters.

The Congress leader said he had asked Thackeray to withdraw the Shiv Sena (UBT) nominees from these two constituencies.

Patole claimed he had attempted to contact Thackeray when the candidates were announced, but the Shiv Sena (UBT) chief was abroad.

"I had hoped that the announcement of candidates would be made after discussing it with us," he said.

The MVA comprises Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress, and NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar).

According to Patole, the Congress had finalised the candidature of Sandeep Gulve for the Nashik Teachers' constituency and informed Thackeray, but the latter inducted Gulve into Shiv Sena (UBT) without any discussions and fielded him as their candidate.

"I only want to say that if we collectively decide the seat-sharing formula on these four MLC seats, it would become easier for all of us to win," he added.

Patole also emphasised the significance of the Congress' alliance with Shiv Sena (UBT).

"This alliance is a crucial step towards our shared goals. We are committed to making collective decisions and believe that the opportunity to find a mutually beneficial solution is still open. I am confident that through constructive discussions, we can reach a resolution," he added.

Detailing the Congress' approach to the upcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra, Patole said their focus is on all 288 segments.

"However, this does not necessarily mean we will contest all of them. Our aim is to bolster the Congress's network, which in turn will serve the interests of the MVA constituents," he added.

Notably, Thackeray's Shiv Sena had fielded Chandrahar Patil from Sangli constituency in recent Lok Sabha polls despite Congress' traditional claim to the seat. This led to Congress aspirant Vishal Patil contesting as an Independent and winning by a significant margin.

For the June 26 elections, the Shiv Sena (UBT) has nominated MLC Anil Parab and J M Abhyankar for the Mumbai Graduates and Mumbai Teachers constituencies, respectively. Parab is a former state transport minister, and Abhyankar heads the Shiv Sena (UBT) teachers' cell.

Out of 78 seats in the Legislative Council, Shiv Sena (undivided) has 11 members, NCP (undivided) 9, Congress 8, and BJP 22. The JD (U), Peasants and Workers Party, and Rashtriya Samaj Paksha have one member each, while four are Independents. 21 seats are vacant.

The vacant seats include 12 members to be nominated by the Governor and nine selected through local body representatives.

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