MUMBAI: Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Balasaheb Thorat, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Vijay Wadettiwar, former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan are some of the prominent faces on the first list of 51 candidates for Maharashtra assembly elections, that the Congress released on Sunday.
Chavan's wife, Amita Sharma-Chavan, is sitting MLA from Bhokar. She had contested her maiden election in 2014 after Chavan won the Lok Sabha election that year.
The Congress and NCP had finalized their seat-sharing formula of 125 each earlier this month and the first list of the Congress was expected about a week back.
However, the party had multiple aspirants on many seats and in some cases, the party feared defection. This forced the party to postpone the announcement.
State party chief Balasaheb Thorat would be filing nomination on Monday from his hometown Sangamner.
Party had decided to repeat all the sitting MLAs. Accordingly, Pranati Shinde and Amit Deshmukh would be party candidates from Solapur and Latur respectively.
The first list also includes candidates from nine constituencies in Mumbai.
Ashok alias Bhai Jagtap, who is the party's sitting MLC, will contest the assembly election from Colaba constituency in Mumbai.
BJP's chief whip in the state assembly and six-time MLA Raj K Purohit currently represents this constituency.
However, out of 42 MLAs it had in 2014, the party has declared names of only 22 on today’s list.
While 9 MLAs have already deserted the party over past few months, six more might be joining the BJP tomorrow, party sources said.
The next generation of Congress leaders also made their way into the election with Ruturaj Sanjay Patil, nephew of sitting MLC Satej Patil, being fielded from the Kolhapur South seat.
The party also fielded Ashok Patil Nilangekar, son of former Maharashtra chief minister Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar, from Nilanga seat in Latur district.
Currently, the constituency is represented by Ashok's nephew and state Labour Minister Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar.
There are 12 assembly constituencies in Nagpur and 62 in the Vidarbha region.
The lone sitting Congress MLA in Nagpur district, Sunil Kedar, who represents the Saoner constituency, has also found a place in the list.
Senior party leader Nitin Raut, who heads the party's SC department, has been fielded from the Nagpur North (reserved) constituency.
BJP's MLA Milind Mane is the sitting MLA from this constituency.
The party has fielded Leader of Opposition Vijay Waddetiwar from Bramhapuri.
He is the sitting MLA from there.
Anil Mangrulkar (Yavatmal), Yashomati Thakur (Teosa in Amravati), Ranjit Kamble (Deoli in Wardha), Amar Kale (Arvi in Wardha) and Satish Varjurkar (Chimur) are some other candidates from the Vidarbha region.
The list of candidates was finalised after the party's Central Election Committee met under the chairmanship of party chief Sonia Gandhi and cleared the names.
While the BJP has organized a special program on Monday morning, it has not released the list of who would be joining the party.
The assembly elections in Maharashtra will be held on October 21 and results will be out on October 24.
(With PTI Inputs)