Winnability will be criterion while allocating tickets for LS polls: Pawar

Winnability will be criterion while allocating tickets for LS polls: Pawar
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Pune: Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar on Monday said "elective merit" will be taken into consideration while allocating tickets to candidates for the next Lok Sabha elections.

He also said the decision about the Shirur Lok Sabha seat, currently represented by Amol Kolhe of NCP, will be taken after discussion with senior leaders.

In the 2019 polls, Kolhe defeated Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil of Shiv Sena (undivided) which contested in alliance with BJP. After severing ties with BJP after the last Assembly polls, Shiv Sena joined hands with NCP and Congress to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi.

Pawar was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the review meeting of NCP which also discussed preparations for a public rally scheduled to be held in Ahmednagar to mark the party's foundation day on June 9.

"While allocating tickets for Lok Sabha elections, the opportunity will be given to those candidates who have elective merit," the NCP leader said.

Queried on Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule reportedly terming NCP's OBC cell convention as 'nautanki' (drama), Pawar said one cannot expect from NCP's opponents to speak well about the party.

Targeting the ruling BJP over the Other Backward Classes (OBC) quota issue, Pawar said it was Maha Vikas Aghadi that had decided to approach the court.

"When the Supreme Court permitted OBC reservation in Madhya Pradesh, our team went there and held discussions to understand the strategy adopted by them. We then put forth our stand in the apex court and everyone knows about the decision," he said.

The Supreme Court in August 2022 directed the State Election Commission (SEC) and the Maharashtra government to maintain the status quo with regard to the poll process to the local bodies. The government had filed a plea seeking a recall of the apex court order by which it had directed the SEC not to re-notify the poll process to 367 local bodies, where it had already commenced, in order to provide reservation to OBC.

"Why they (the state government in which BJP shares power with Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde) didn't hold elections? They are in power for one year now. Why are you pointing fingers over the issue?" Pawar asked.

He also took a dig at the state government over the delayed cabinet expansion.

"It is their (state government's) prerogative. They might be thinking that the Cabinet of 20 ministers is doing a good job. They might be feeling appropriate not to give representation to women in the council of ministers," he said.

On August 9 last year, 18 ministers were inducted in the Shinde-Fadnavis government after it came to power in June, while as per rules the council of ministers in the state can have a maximum of 43 members.