Mumbai: Notwithstanding the seat-sharing pact between Congress and NCP for the Legislative Council elections slated for December 27, rebels from both parties filed their nominations against official candidates on the last day of filing of papers today.
Out of eight seats in total for grabs, the Congress is contesting 4 and the NCP 3.
In saffron camp, the Shiv Sena is contesting 3 seats, while the BJP 5 -- which include extending support to 2 independent candidates.
NCP rebel Prasad Lad today filed his papers for Mumbai seat against Congress' Bhai Jagtap while former Congress MLA Jayant Sasane filed his nomination as an independent against NCP's Arun Jagtap in Ahmednagar. Former Congress MLA Dilip Mane filed his papers as an independent in Solapur against NCP's Deepak Salunke.
Apart from fielding Salunke and Jagtap, both sitting MLCs in Solapur and Ahmednagar respectively, the NCP has given nomination to Ravi Sakpal in Akola-Washim-Buldhana local self-government body.
Meanwhile, Congress has fielded former minister Satej Patil in Kolhapur in place of its sitting MLC Mahadev Mahadik, who is contesting as an independent supported by BJP, while retaining Amrish Patel in Dhule-Nandurbar. The party has fielded Ashok Singh Chauhan in Nagpur.
In Sena camp, Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam and sitting MLC Gopikishan Bajoria filed their nomination papers from Mumbai and Akola-Washim-Buldhana seats, respectively while Shashikant Gade in Ahmednagar.
In Nagpur, BJP has fielded Girish Vyas, believed to be a close aide of Union minister Nitin Gadkari, and Manoj Kotak, the BJP group leader in the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), from Mumbai while Gopal Kele is the party nominee in Dhule-Nandurbar.
In Solapur, the BJP is supporting NCP rebel Prashant Paricharak who is contesting as an independent candidate.
The eight MLCs in the biennial elections are to be elected from local self-government bodies constituency. The seats are: Nagpur, Akola-Washim-Buldhana (both in Vidarbha), Solapur, Kolhapur (western Maharashtra), Ahmednagar, Dhule-Nandurbar in North Maharashtra and two seats in Mumbai.
The outgoing members are Rajendra Mulak, Gopikisan Bajoriya, Deepak Salunke, Mahadeo Mahadik, Arin Jagtap, Amrish Patel, Ramdas Kadam and Bhai Jagtap, respectively. Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Chavan said the issues will be sorted out before the last date of withdrawal of nomination.
"I am aware that the rebel has filed nomination in Ahmednagar and Mumbai. But we will resolve the issue as Congress and NCP are contesting the election together," Chavan said.
NCP Maharashtra Chief Sunil Tatkre said that he will not tolerate Prasad Lad as he is not the party's official candidate. "Lad is not the official candidate and we will take it seriously, on the other hand we will also take information whether Congress has given 'AB' form to Jayant Sasane in Ahmednagar," Tatkare said.
According to a Congress source, independent Jagtap won previous election with acting support of Congress strongman Balasaheb Thorat whose 40 votes were casted in favour of Jagtap.
"Now the political scenario has changed and Thorat would probably support rebel Sasane," the leader claimed. "Congress' outgoing MLC Rajendra Mulak from Nagpur has been changed with Sanjay Mahakalkar as Mulak was not interested to contest the election," said senior congress leader Chandrakant Chhajed.
According to another Congress leader, former Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan too suggested that Mulak not contest MLC, instead focus on assembly constituency for the 2019 polls.
Meanwhile, BJP announced support to independent candidates in Kolhapur and Solapur as the party didn't have strong candidate to contest against Congress and NCP respectively.