Ajit Pawar won't give Ahmednagar seat to Congress
Sujay Vikhe Patil may now have to choose between NCP and BJP for a Lok Sabha nomination
While the BJP and Shiv Sena seem to be ironing out differences, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party have struck a discord over the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha segment where the son of senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil has staked claim to a seat that has been traditionally fought by the NCP.
Opposition leader in assembly Vikhe Patil's son Sujay has become a bone of contention for the alliance that the two major parties are trying to expand by including Prakash Ambedkar's Vanchit (deprived) Aghadi (front). The NCP is not willing to part with the seat despite losing it thrice in a row while the Vikhe Patils are confident of winning it if allowed to contest.
The father had requested NCP boss Sharad Pawar to consider Sujay as his (Pawar's) grandson and Pawar was reported to have agreed. NCP state president Jayant Patil and Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar, have, however, denied any such agreement.
Sujay Vikhe Patil has meanwhile begun work in the constituency while sending out feelers to the BJP that he would accept their official nomination if denied both by the Congress and NCP. Sujay's father said that it would be his son's decision to defect to any other non-Congress party with Sujay agreeing that it wasn't mandatory for the family members to be in one party.
Ajit Pawar has said that the seat in question would remain with the NCP at any cost, giving rise to speculations that Sujay might be asked to join the NCP to get an official nomination. That way, the NCP would keep its seat and might win it as well, considering the clout the Vikhe Patil family wields in the district.
The arrangement, if agreed upon, might end a long-time feud between the Vikhe Patil and Pawar families. Sujay's grandfather, late Balasaheb Vikhe Patil remained Sharad Pawar's sworn political rival in his lifetime. The rivalry showed up even during the Congress-NCP regime when Ajit, the then energy minister, had initiated legal action against the Vikhe Patil-controlled rural electricity cooperative that owed the state government a huge amount in power bill arrears. The sugar baron families haven't really stopped the game of one-upmanship against each other in the past 50 years.
"Most probably, Sujay should be drafted as an NCP candidate and if that happens it would be a sort of victory for Pawars. If Sujay and his family don't agree, they would be left to fend for themselves," said a senior NCP leader.
The late RR Patil's daughter in Maval?
NCP insiders have said that the elder daughter of the late RR Patil, Smita, was being considered for the Maval Lok Sabha constituency. Her name has cropped up after the relentless fight she put up against dance bars that her father had banned as state home minister 13 years ago. The density of illegal dance bars in Panvel area - part of Maval constituency - is very high and an incident in Panvel had prompted a debate over dance bars in the state Assembly.
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