Lok Sabha Polls: Mahayuti Undecided Over Nashik, But NCP Stands Firm on its Claim Despite Sena Challenge

April 23,2024

The Ajit Pawar-led NCP on Monday said it has not withdrawn its claim over the Nashik constituency, despite Maharashtra cabinet minister Chhagan Bhujbal announcing that he is not in the fray from the Lok Sabha seat. So far, the Nashik seat has remained contentious within the ‘Mahayuti’, as both the NCP and Shiv Sena are claiming it.

The Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena is not in favour of giving away this seat to any alliance partner. A few weeks ago, sitting MP and Sena leader Hemant Godse’s name was declared unofficially at one of the party functions by the chief minister’s son, Shrikant Shinde.

After this, the BJP rushed their senior leader and state minister Girish Mahajan to Nashik to take stock of the situation. According to top sources in the ‘Mahayuti’, the BJP has already shown the negative survey report of Godse to the Sena during their alliance talks.

The BJP was eyeing Nashik seat till the NCP gave Satara to the saffron party; now, the competition between the NCP and the Sena. Bhujbal had earlier shown interest in contesting from the seat, but party sources told News18 that he later lost interest because the Mahayuti allies are not on the same page about the issue. Due to the stand taken by both NCP and Sena, no consensus has been reached.

Party sources said though Bhujbal withdrew his name from the fray, if the NCP bags the Nashik seat, their first choice will be the minister. “Bhujbal, being a senior member of our party, has put forth his views about the Lok Sabha election. He has vast experience in this field. He will certainly help in the campaigning of ‘Mahayuti’ candidates during this Lok Sabha election,” said Maharashtra NCP president Sunil Tatkare.

Ajit Pawar, meanwhile, released the party manifesto for the general elections, highlighting that it will support the demand for a caste-based census – an issue its ally BJP has sidestepped so far. At a gathering, the deputy chief minister said the NCP will also demand the Bharat Ratna, which is the country’s highest civilian award, for the late Maharashtra CM and defence minister Yashwantrao Chavan.