MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena today announced the candidature of party functionary Vilas Potnis for the Mumbai Graduates constituency election scheduled to be held on June 25 along with three other Maharashtra legislative council constituencies.
The nomination of Potnis, a Shiv Sena Vibhag Pramukh in Mumbai, is seen as a major setback to incumbent Sena MLC and state Health Minister Deepak Sawant.
According to sources, the Sena rank and file was upset with Sawant and did not want the party to renominate him.
Elections to four constituencies--Nashik Division Teachers', Mumbai Teachers', Mumbai Graduates', and Konkan Division Graduates' from the legislative council--were necessitated because the term of the sitting members is expiring on June 7.
The above seats are represented by Apoorva Hiray, Kapil Patil, Deepak Sawant, and Niranjan Davkhare, respectively.
Minister Sawant had called on party chief Uddhav Thackeray last week and sought to be relieved of ministerial duties to concentrate on the party organisation, the Sena said in a statement today.
The Sena has already nominated former Thane mayor Sanjay More for the Konkan Division Graduates' constituency.
He would face NCP turncoat and BJP nominee Niranjan Davkhare.
The Sena has fielded Shivaji Shendge for the Mumbai Teachers' seat.
Sena has nominated Kishore Darade from the Nashik Division Teachers' constituency, currently held by Apoorva Hiray, an Independent.
The BJP has nominated Anil Kumar Rajesing Deshmukh from the Mumbai Teachers seat where he faces challenge from Kapil Patil of the Janata Dal (United).
The last date for filing of nominations for the biennial elections is June 7, while the last date for withdrawal of candidature is June 11.
Votes will be taken up for counting on June 28.