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Lok Sabha polls: Shiv Sena (UBT) releases 1st list of 16 nominees; ex-Union ministers Geete, Sawant find place

Lok Sabha polls: Shiv Sena (UBT) releases 1st list of 16 nominees; ex-Union ministers Geete, Sawant find place

The Shiv Sena (UBT) on Wednesday released its first list of 16 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, nominating former Union ministers Anant Geete and Arvind Sawant from Raigad and South Mumbai constituencies respectively.

The party re-nominated all five sitting MPs, who stayed with party chief Uddhav Thackeray, following the outfit's split in 2022. These lawmakers are Arvind Sawant (South Mumbai), Rajan Vichare (Thane), Vinayak Raut (Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg), Omraje Nimbalkar (Dharashiv) and Sanjay Jadhav (Parbhani).

Sawant had resigned as a Union minister after the undivided Shiv Sena quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the power-sharing agreement in Maharashtra.

Vichare represents Thane, the home turf of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, whose rebellion triggered a split in the Shiv Sena founded by Bal Thackeray in 1966.

The Sena (UBT) also fielded veteran party leader Chandrakant Khaire from Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar. Khaire had lost to All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) candidate Imtiaz Jaleel in 2019.

From Mumbai North-East, the party fielded Sanjay Patil, a former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA and MP who later joined the Shiv Sena. From Mumbai North-West, the party nominated Amol Kirtikar, son of Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar, who owes allegiance to CM Shinde-led Sena.

The party is yet to announce any candidate for Mumbai South-Central, a seat which the Shiv Sena (UBT) as well as its ally Congress are keen to contest.

The party named Narendra Khedekar as its candidate from Buldhana, Sanjay Deshmukh from Yavatmal-Washim, Sanjay Wakchowre-Patil from Maval, Rajabhau Waje from Nashik, Bhausaheb Wakchaure from Shirdi and Nagesh Patil Ashtikar from Hingoli.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party is a constituent of the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the state.

Another MVA constituent, NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) is yet to officially declare its candidates in the state for the April-May Lok Sabha polls. On the other hand, the Congress, which is also a part of the state-level grouping of the opposition parties, has declared its candidates on some seats where there is no tussle with its alliance partners.

Maharashtra, which has 48 Lok Sabha seats, the second highest after Uttar Pradesh (80), will vote in five phases starting from April 19.

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