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Trouble in 'Mahayuti'? Suhas Kande Says Chhagan Bhujbal Campaigning for Sharad Pawar's Faction

With the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP joining hands with the Shinde faction of Shiv Sena, things have become difficult for Suhas Kande, since he and Chhagan Bhujbal had been political rivals for some years now. 
Chhagan Bhujbal and Suhas Kande. Photos: Official Facebook accounts.

New Delhi: Cleaves between leaders of Maharashtra’s ‘Mahayuti’ alliance has come to the fore with Shiv Sena MLA Suhas Kande launching an attack on senior state minister and ally, Chhagan Bhujbal, for allegedly campaigning for the rival faction of the Nationalist Congress Party in the Dindori Lok Sabha constituency.

The Mahayuti is an alliance of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena (under Eknath Shinde) and the wing of the Nationalist Congress Party under Ajit Pawar.

Illustration: Pariplab Chakraborty

While Bhaskar Bhagre is the candidate from NCP (Sharad Pawar) faction in Dindori, Bharati Pawar from the BJP, a minister in the Narendra Modi government, is the Mahayuti’s candidate.

Dindori is among 13 Lok Sabha seats that will go to polls on May 20.

According to news reports, Kande, while addressing his party’s supporters in his assembly constituency of Nandgaon on May 10, said, “If he (Bhujbal) has become a minister, he has ben made one under the Mahayuti quota. However, when it comes to campaigning, he is doing so for the NCP symbol. If he loves the tutari (NCP’s election symbol) so much, then I beg you to resign as a minister and work for the NCP (SP).”

An Indian Express report said Bhujbal has, however, denied the allegation made by Kande. “Our people are working diligently. I have told my people that if we have differences with local MLA, we should carry on our work separately to ensure the victory of the Mahayuti alliance (in Dindori),” he said.

Bhujbal represents the Yeval assembly seat adjoining Nandgaon. When the NCP’s Ajit Pawar split the party in July 2023, Bhujbal was among some senior party leaders who had joined him.

Kande too had joined the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena. 

With the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP joining hands with the Shinde faction of Shiv Sena in the state, and thus, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), things have become difficult for Kande, since he and Bhujbal had been political rivals for some years now. 

Kande, who had filed a series of cases against Bhujbal, had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 assembly elections in Nandgaon against Bhujbal’s son Pankaj. In the 2019 polls though, he could defeat Pankaj, then representing the undivided NCP led by Sharad Pawar, with 13,889 votes. 

Since 2009, the Dindori Lok Sabha seat in the state’s Nashik district has been pocketed by the BJP. In 2019, Bharti Pawar had won the seat by defeating NCP (undivided) candidate Dhanraj Mahale. 

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