BJP leader Pankaja Munde’s supporters were demanding that she be accommodated as an MLC. However, her name was not in the list of five candidates announced by the BJP on Wednesday. The BJP gave tickets to Pravin Darekar, Prasad Lad, former minister Ram Shinde, general secretary BJP Shrikant Bhartiya and Uma Khapre who heads the BJP’s women’s wing in the state.
Darekar is known to be close to Fadnavis and was made the opposition leader in the Maharashtra Legislative Council last time. Lad and Shinde are also considered close to Fadnavis and Shrikant Bhartiya was the OSD to Fadnavis during the latter’s term as chief minister.
Pankaja Munde has been quite critical of the BJP’s attempts to corner the MVA in the assembly. Pankaja who is in a cold war with Fadnavis has also skipped many of the party events where the latter was present. State BJP president Chandrakant Patil said: “The state unit shortlists the candidates and gives it to the Centre and it is the latter which takes the final decision. Both Fadnavis and I had pushed for the inclusion of Pankaja as an MLC candidate. However, the leadership probably has something else in store for her.”