In a big setback to grand alliance, NCP supremo and former union minister Sharad Pawar has decided not to contest Lok Sabha election. Speaking to media persons in Maharashtra, Pawar said he will not contest so that two of his family members — daughter Supriya Sule and grandson Parth Pawar — could contest instead. This comes when seat sharing talks between Congress and NCP are going on for Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra.
A Rajya Sabha member since 2014, Pawar had earlier been elected to Lok Sabha seven times. Six terms out of these were from his home constituency Baramati in Pune but he shifted to Madha, created in 2008 after delimitation of seats was implemented, in 2009. He chose not to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and entered parliament through the Rajya Sabha. Maharashtra, which has around eight crore voters, sends 48 MPs to the Lok Sabha, the second highest after Uttar Pradesh which has 80 seats.
In 2014, in Maharashtra, the Congress and NCP had fielded 26 and 21 candidates respectively. Of these, they won two and four seats respectively, in view of the strong BJP wave then. BJP won 23 seats while its ally Shiv Sena bagged 18. Later in the 2014 Assembly elections, both contested separately and suffered another massive drubbing at the hands of the BJP and the Shiv Sena. BJP and the Shiv Sena, despite internal bickerings, have already finalised their alliance to contest 25 and 23 Lok Sabha seats, respectively.