The Congress high command on Wednesday ended speculation over ticket to President Pratibha Patil’s son Rajendra Shekhawat for the Maharashtra Assembly elections. Mr. Shekhawat has been fielded from Amravati and he is one of the 159 candidates announced by the Congress in its first list in New Delhi.
The Congress list, released two days before the last day for nominations, has over 40 p.c. new faces and about 20-odd sitting MLAs. Six sitting MLAs have been dropped, including Mr. Deshmukh. Two former MPs — Subodh Mohite and Tukaram Renge Patil — figure in the list.
Mr. Mohite who has been allotted Ramtek seat, is a former Shiv Sainik and close to Industries Minister Narayan Rane. After joining the Congress, he lost the Lok Sabha by-election in Ramtek to the Sena. Mr. Renge Patil is famous for his support to the UPA government during the vote of confidence. He remained absent during the crucial vote and was expelled by the Sena. He will contest from Parbhani.
Prominent among the candidates are Chief Minister Ashok Chavan from Bhokar, Mr. Narayan Rane from Kudal, Revenue Minister Patangrao Kadam and Mumbai Congress president Kripa Shankar Singh, whose candidature from Kalina was a bone of contention between the Congress and the NCP.
Other Ministers who have got tickets include Balasaheb Thorat, Anees Ahmed, Nitin Raut, Suresh Shetty, Naseem Khan, Chandrakant Handore, Harshwardhan Patil and Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.