The Congress, for the first time, will contest elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council from five graduates and teachers constituencies. So far, the party has been supporting Independents in these seats. The polls will be held in July.
“We never contested from these seats before. We always supported Independents as a matter of policy. We have changed it now,” said state Congress president Manikrao Thakare and added that the party had launched a special cell to register the voters, the work of which was almost complete. A Congress strategist said the party changed its policy after it felt that the educated class was under the BJP’s influence. Thakare admitted that his party was planning to attract educated class. “We are already influential among them. We want them to understand our policies,” he said.
He, however, denied that the party was politicising the field of education. “It (politicising) was started by the BJP and NCP. After all, numbers in the House are also important.” While a non-teacher could contest from the teachers’ constituency, one has to be a graduate to be a candidate in the graduates’ constituency.
The elections are due for three graduate constituencies in Nagpur, Pune and Aurangabad as well as two teachers’ constituencies in Amravati and Pune.
The Congress is likely to leave Amaravti and one seat in Pune for its ally Nationalist Congress Party. In the 2008 elections, the BJP had won Nagpur and two seats in Pune. The remaining two went to the NCP and an Independent.