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Maharashtra Legislative Council polls: BJP releases list of candidates, Pankaja Munde finds spot

Munde had recently lost the Lok Sabha elections against NCP (SP)'s Bajrang Sonwane.
Last Updated : 01 July 2024, 09:51 IST

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Mumbai: After a gap of nearly five years, BJP’s Pankaja Munde, a veteran OBC leader got a much-needed political break, when she was nominated by the saffron party on Monday, to contest the biennial elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council.

Pankaja (44), the BJP’s national general secretary, is the daughter of late BJP stalwart and former Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde and niece of late BJP’s troubleshooter Pramod Mahajan.

The biennial elections to 11 seats of the Maharashtra Legislative Council is scheduled on 12 July.

The BJP, which leads the Maha Yuti coalition (NDA) has named five candidates.

Besides Pankaja, four others are Yogesh Tilekar, the President of Bharatiya Janata Party OBC Morcha, Dr Parinay Phuke, a former minister, Amit Gorkhe, former Chairman of the Lokshahir Anna Bhau Sathe Development Corporation and Sadabhau Khot, a veteran farmers leader and President of Rayat Kranti Sanghatana, who is an ally of BJP.

From 2014-19, Pankaja was the Rural Development Minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government.

In 2019 Vidhan Sabha polls, Pankaja lost the Parli seat to her cousin Dhananjay Munde, then with undivided NCP led by Sharad Pawar and now with Ajit Pawar.

Thereafter, she was ignored for a berth in Maharashtra Legislative Council and Rajya Sabha several times.

In the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP gave the ticket to Pankaja from Beed, which was earlier represented twice by her sister Dr Pritam Munde.

Pankaja, however, lost to Bajrang Sonawane of NCP (SP).

Her defeat was attributed mainly to the Maratha reservation and the resistance by the OBCs.

The Mundes hail from the Vanjari (OBC) from Marathwada, which has become the epicentre of the Maratha-vs-OBC reservation issue. The BJP lost all the eight Lok Sabha seats from Marathwada.

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Published 01 July 2024, 09:51 IST

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