The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday announced the name of former Congressman Ranjitsinh Naik-Nimbalkar for the prestigious Madha Lok Sabha constituency in Solapur.
Mr. Naik-Nimbalkar, formerly the Congress’ Satara district chief, hails from a politically influential family in Phaltan. He had emerged as a frontrunner for the Madha seat following his recent entry into the BJP.
According to sources, the other aspirant, Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil, son of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) stalwart Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, who also recently joined the BJP, is likely to be accommodated as an MLC in the Legislative Council later this year.
The constituency was in the news following the NCP top brass’ announcement that Sharad Pawar himself would be contesting from Madha.
However, the NCP supremo withdrew his proposed candidacy earlier this month. In a massive function in Baramati last week, Mr. Pawar announced the nomination of Solapur Zilla Parishad president Sanjay Shinde as the NCP-Congress candidate.
Mr. Naik-Nimbalkar faces stiff competition from Mr. Shinde, as the latter has been an influential figure in the local politics of Solapur district.
The NCP fielded Mr. Shinde after its sitting MP from Madha, Mr. Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, an influential politico from Solapur, was allegedly upset with Mr. Pawar and the party top brass for refusing to endorse the candidacy of his son, Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil.
Mr. Naik-Nimbalkar has met with Mr. Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil since his defection to the BJP to secure the latter’s support for his campaign for the Madha seat.
While still with the NCP, the elder Mohite-Patil has reportedly assured Mr. Naik-Nimbalkar that he would actively campaign for the latter’s victory in Madha.
Two of the Assembly segments of the Madha LS constituency — Phaltan and Maan — fall in Satara district.
The BJP has propped up Mr. Naik-Nimbalkar in the hope that he can rake in votes from these two segments, which are considered to be his stronghold.