'Deadlock': Bhujbal announces decision to opt out of Nashik contest

Mumbai, April 19 (IANS): Maharashtra minister and veteran NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal on Friday announced he was opting out of the fray for the Nashik Lok Sabha constituency, so the the MahaYuti partners can soon seal a seat-sharing agreement for the seat.

He, however, made it clear that his decision, in no way, signals discontent against the NCP leadership, saying that he would campaign for the candidate to be finalised by the MahaYuti for Nashik.

With Bhujbal's announcement, the ball is now in the court of the other MahaYuti partners - the BJP and the Shiv Sena - to decide. Apart from Bhujbal, the BJP has staked its claim citing its strength, while sitting Shiv Sena MP Hemant Godse had already launched his campaigning demanding his renomination.

Bhujbal's move has stunned the NCP leadership as it was engaged in talks with the Shiv Sena and BJP over its claim on the Nashik seat. The founder of Samata Parishad with a strong presence in the OBC community which constitutes about 33 per cent of the state population, his decision may impact the prospects of the NCP and MahaYuti adversely, as the OBCs could feel that its tallest leader has been victimised.

"I was told that after the Holi festival, I should be ready to contest from the Nashik seat as my name was recommended by the BJP's central leadership. I had a meeting with our party chief Ajit Pawar who also said that the party is in favour of contesting the Nashik seat. However, three weeks have passed but the deadlock continues, and therefore, I decided to opt out of the race. However, I strongly feel that the MahaYuti should soon solve the deadlock as the Maha Vikas Aghadi nominee had already started his campaigning," he said.

He added that if the deadlock continues, the MahaYuti will have to make greater efforts to win the seat.

Bhujbal reiterated that he had started his preparations after he was informed that the BJP central leadership wanted him to contest from Nashik due to his bright prospects.

"I am thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and my party leaders also for considering my name for Nashik seat. I will campaign wholeheartedly for the MahaYuti candidate in Nashik and also in other constituencies," he said.

Bhujbal figured in the headlines during the Maratha reservation protest by Manoj Jarange-Patil after he opposed giving Kunbi certificates to the Maratha community from the OBC quota. He was isolated in his NCP but stuck to his stand saying that giving Kunbi certificates from the OBC quota was an encroachment on its reservation quota. He also opposed the state government's move to conduct a survey of Kunbi records across the state.



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Title: 'Deadlock': Bhujbal announces decision to opt out of Nashik contest

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