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Yatra: Confusion over candidate delays Advani

Pankaj Upadhyaya in Solapur | March 16, 2004 10:31 IST

The problem with playing double games is that it can get very confusing at times.

This is just what has happened in Solapur. The BJP is unable to decide on its candidate for the seat, which it recently won in a by-election. Its candidate was Pratapsinh Mohite-Patil.

Pratapsinh is no ordinary person but the brother of none other than senior Nationalist Congress Party leader and Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil.

The seat was earlier held by Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde, who had to vacate it when he was made the chief minister.

The Congress and NCP are the major partners in the ruling coalition. However, till some time back there was intense competition between the two to strengthen their hold in the state.

To complicate matters, the BJP fielded Pratapsinh in the by-election to the Solapur seat and ensured that the NCP workers did not put their heart into the campaign leading to the defeat of the Congress.

To those who asked, the NCP pointed out that their alliance was only restricted to assembly seats. Later the two parties made up and entered into an alliance for the Lok Sabha seats too.

This is posing its own set of problems.

What will Vijaysinh do if the BJP fields his brother Pratapsinh?

Pratapsinh was present at Advani's rally in Solapur on Monday evening but did not specifically declare his desire to contest the Lok Sabha election. However, he did declare his loyalty to the BJP.

The latter is keen that he contest the coming election though there are some who think it is not such a good idea fearing that Pratapsinh's loyalty will be tested in case there is a hung Parliament.

Click here for the yatra route map

One factor that will help the BJP make up its mind is if the Congress-NCP declare its candidate, which could be either Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's wife or a member of Mohite-Patil's family. However, the latter also seems to be aware of the confusion in the BJP ranks and is not declaring its candidate.

The word in Solapur is that Advani will decide one way of the other before he resumes his yatra. But till 10am Tuesday, he was yet to leave Solapur, indicating that the issue is proving to be quite a handful.

Complete coverage of Advani's yatra


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