The ruling Shiv Sena on Wednesday announced the candidature of Sachin Ahir and Aamshya Padvi for the upcoming Maharashtra Legislative Council polls as it decided against renominating senior leader and state minister Subhash Desai and another party veteran Diwakar Raote for the election to the Upper House of the state legislature.
Both Desai and Raote, who have been with the Sena since its inception, are among the 10 retiring members of the Legislative Council and election for these seats will be held on June 20. As the name of Desai, Industries Minister in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, is missing from the list, it means the cabinet reshuffle looks imminent. If not elected to any of the Houses, Desai has to resign in the next six months after the expiry of his tenure. The terms of both Desai and Raote end in July.
Ahir, who was a minister in the previous Congress-NCP coalition government in the state, was associated with the Sharad Pawar-led party since its formation in 1999. He had lost polls to Shiv Sena in 2014 from Worli seat in Mumbai, which is currently represented by state Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, son of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Ahir had lost the 2014 Assembly election to Shiv Sena’s Sunil Shinde.
However, ahead of the 2019 state elections, when Aaditya Thackeray was to contest his maiden assembly poll from Worli, Ahir had joined the Sena. He is considered to be close to Aaditya. Padvi, an organisation man, hails from tribal-dominated Nandurbar district in north Maharashtra.
Talking about the development, Desai said, “We have given a chance to two (new) faces. This was my decision not to contest the election.” Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said, “It is wrong to say that they (Desai and Raote) were excluded from the list of candidates. The two are senior leaders of the party and spent years working for it.” Ahir said, “Padvi ji was told (by Uddhav Thackeray) to work for the welfare of tribals. He asked us to work for the common man.” Earlier, the BJP has announced the candidature of Pravin Yeshwant Darekar (currently leader of opposition in the Council), Ram Shankar Shinde (former minister), Shrikant Bharatiya, Uma Girish Khapre (BJP’s state wome’s wing chief) and Prasad Minesh Lad for the polls.