Loksabha 2019: Pravin Gaikwad, Maratha leader, joins Congress

ST Correspondent
Sunday, 31 March 2019

Party may field him from Pune LS constituency

Mumbai: Maratha leader and Sambhaji Brigade President Pravin Gaikwad officially joined the Congress party on Saturday. However, suspense over Congress candidate from Pune Lok Sabha seat still continues.
Though only a month is left for the Lok Sabha elections, Congress has still not announced its candidate from Pune. Speculations are high that Gaikwad may be the Congress candidate, but last week he only announced his withdrawal from the race of Congress candidature as the process of decision making was delayed. 

Senior party leaders Arvind Shinde and Mohan Joshi had expressed their interest in contesting from Pune, much before the election dates were announced.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade, whose name was considered for Pune’s candidature along with Gaikwad, also changed his mind after meeting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. 

On Saturday, Gaikwad joined the Congress in presence of All India Congress Secretary and State observer Mallikarjun Kharge, former chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Ashok Chavan, at Tilak Bhavan in Mumbai.  

Gaikwad is very much in the race but the Congress loyalists are opposing his name citing there would be a polarisation of only Maratha votes if Gaikwad is fielded from Pune.
It is said that Pune was a bastion of Congress, but this time, there are different opinions from the local leaders for candidature. 

Earlier, Arvind Shinde, Congress group leader in PMC, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, former MP Mohan Joshi, Congress leader Harshvardhan Patil, BJP MP Sanjay Kakade were in the race. 

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