NCP president Sharad Pawar will not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, party leader Jitendra Ahwad said today in Mumbai.
Putting to rest speculations that Mr Pawar will contest from Pune Lok Sabha seat, Mr Ahwad told reporters that Mr Pawar had already made it clear in 2014 that he will not contest the Lok Sabha polls again.
“Pawar has told the party not to consider his name as he will not be a candidate. In today’s meeting, Pawar said he is not in the (LS) race and nobody should propose his name,” said the NCP lawmaker from Mumbra-Kalwa, in neighbouring Thane district.
Mr Awhad also denied that the NCP chief had opposed the candidature of Parth Pawar, son of senior leader Ajit Pawar, for the Mawal Lok Sabha seat.
“Preliminary discussions are on. The name will be finalised after discussions with party workers,” Mr Ahwad said.
The former Union Agriculture minister is currently holding a two-day meeting with NCP leaders and functionaries at the party’s state unit office to discuss candidates for the Lok Sabha polls scheduled for next year. The meeting started today morning.
In another development, former Maharashtra NCP chief Sunil Tatkare told reporters that he was willing to step aside if Bhaskar Jadhav, another former state party chief, was keen to contest from Raigad Lok Sabha seat.
Mr Tatkare had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Raigad, near Mumbai, against Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete.
Mr Geete is the the Heavy Industries minister in the Narendra Modi government. “I will work for his (Jadhav) win. If Jadhav is interested, I am willing to withdraw. I am not interested in contesting Lok Sabha polls. More than my candidature, I want to ensure victory of a secular government. If Jadhav is interested, I am supporting him,” Mr Tatkare said.
The NCP has demanded a 50-50 seat-sharing formula for the state’s 48 Lok Sabha seats in its alliance talks with the Congress.
The two parties had entered into an alliance in 2014 and the Congress contested 27 seats while the NCP put up candidates on 21 LS seats.
Mr Pawar will discuss the current political situation in the 21 Lok Sabha seats the party had contested in 2014 and discuss the process of selection of candidates, a senior NCP leader had said on Friday.
The NCP has also called leaders from Jalna, Aurangabad, Dhule and Hatkanangle, since the party plans to stake claim to these four seats, party spokesperson Nawab Malik had said.
The Congress had fought from these four seats in the 2014 general elections.
The Hatkanangle LS seat is currently held by Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana’s Raju Shetti. He quit the NDA and allied with the Congress recently.