Makes grass-roots worker Sanjay Pawar its Rajya Sabha candidate, as Sambhajiraje Bhosale rejects proposal to join the party
The Sena has put Sambhajiraje Bhosale in a fix, because as an independent, he was counting on the surplus votes of all MVA partners and the BJP. File pic
The Shiv Sena has given its ground-level party worker, Sanjay Pawar from Kolhapur, an opportunity to go to the Rajya Sabha through the June 10 elections. The party had asked a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Sambhajiraje Bhosale, to join it for a ticket, but when the proposal was rejected, it chose Pawar over the member of the royal family from Kolhapur.
As per the party-wise strength in the Assembly of 288 members, which is the electoral house for the Rajya Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will get two seats. The BJP hasn’t announced the names yet. The Congress will declare its one candidate soon, while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will field sitting MP and senior leader Praful Patel for one seat. The Sena will field its sitting MP Sanjay Raut, in addition to Pawar, as it has been given two seats as decided by the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).
The Sena’s announcement has put Bhosale in a fix, because as an independent, he relied on the surplus votes of all MVA partners and the BJP. NCP boss Sharad Pawar had said the party would support Bhosale, but the equations changed when the Sena demanded contesting two seats as per the agreement with the NCP two years ago.
Bhosale retired recently as a President-nominated Rajya Sabha member. He didn’t align with the BJP but declared he would fight as an independent. With the MVA votes to be distributed between four candidates, the BJP is the only option available to Bhosale. In one of the vacancies, the BJP will repeat the union commerce and industry minister and leader of the Rajya Sabha, Piyush Gayal. It is to be seen whether Bhosale gets the BJP’s second seat.
‘King exists because of soldiers’
Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut told media persons that the Sambhajiraje chapter was closed for the Sena. “Because there is a mavla (soldier), there is a King…” he said, while explaining why a grass root level worker was given candidature. “We had proposed that Sambhajiraje join the Sena. We have accorded due respect to the royal family. But it seems he wants to contest as an independent, and whoever has 42 votes each will win. The Sena will win two seats comfortably,” said Raut.
Raut said many members of royal families had joined the Sena to contest polls. “Even Sambhajiraje had contested the Lok Sabha election on a NCP ticket. Shahu Maharaj and Malojiraje were the Sena's candidates,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Sambhajiraje had said that he had a comprehensive discussion with the Sena President Uddhav Thackeray. “We have decided what to do next. I expect that Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj’s legacy is given its due respect,” Sambhajiraje said. Within hours of his statement, the Sena announced the candidature of a loyal party worker, Pawar, who is also the Kolhapur Sena unit president.
No. of Rajya Sabha seats to be contested