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Shiv Sena (UBT) declares four more nominees; fields ex-MNS leader Vaishali Darekar in Kalyan

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Mumbai, Apr 3 (PTI) The Shiv Sena (UBT) on Wednesday declared four more candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, fielding Vaishali Darekar-Rane from the high-profile Kalyan constituency, currently represented by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's son Shrikant Shinde.

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With this, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party has so far declared nominees for 21 seats in Maharashtra which will go to polls in five phases starting April 19.

Darekar-Rane had contested from Kalyan on the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) ticket against the Shiv Sena's Anand Paranjape in 2009, finishing third by bagging 1.02 lakh votes.

Speaking at a news conference, Thackeray also declared the candidatures of Satyajit Patil (Hatkanangale), Bharti Kamdi (Palghar) and Karan Pawar (Jalgaon).

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If his Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) ally Congress was not keen on contesting the Mumbai North constituency, his party will field a candidate there, Thackeray said.

The BJP has fielded Union minister Piyush Goyal from Mumbai North.

The Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde has not yet declared its candidate from Kalyan.

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Thackeray said Darekar-Rane and Bharti Kamdi are grassroots workers of the party.

Karan Pawar, a former president of Parola Municipal Council in north Maharashtra's Jalgaon district, emerged as a surprise choice of Shiv Sena (UBT). Pawar, a BJP leader, joined the Thackeray camp along with sitting BJP MP Unmesh Patil earlier in the day.

Unmesh Patil quit the BJP after he was denied a ticket from Jalgaon. The party has fielded Smita Wagh in his place this time.

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Thackeray also indicated that Shiv Sena (UBT) will not relent on Sangli constituency where it has already declared its candidate (Chandrahar Patil) though the Congress is seeking the seat.

The candidature of Chandrahar Patil caused heartburn in the Congress which wanted to field Vishal Patil, grandson of former chief minister late Vasantdada Patil, from Sangli, its traditional bastion in western Maharashtra.

"The Shiv Sena (UBT) has ceded its traditional Kolhapur and Ramtek seats to Congress," Thackeray pointed out, adding that his party had already started campaigning in Sangli.

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Asked if there would be a friendly fight in Sangli, Thackeray said, "Friendly fights are useless because when there is friendship, there is no contest." The Congress is also upset over Shiv Sena (UBT) fielding Thackeray's close aide Anil Desai from Mumbai South-Central constituency.

"If our ally (Congress) is not keen on contesting Mumbai North, we will field a candidate from that seat. We are contesting four (out of six) seats in Mumbai. We want the Congress to win rest of the two seats in Mumbai, and Shiv Sena (UBT) workers will help them," Thackeray added.

Satyajit Patil's candidature from Hatkanangale in western Maharashtra is seen as a jolt to Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana's Raju Shetti who was seeking Thackeray's support to contest from this constituency.

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Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut said the party had conveyed to Shetti that he should contest on the `burning torch' symbol of Shiv Sena (UBT), which he did not agree to.

Local party workers were also of the opinion that whoever contests as MVA candidate should contest on the `burning torch' symbol, he said.

Shetti won the Hatkanangale seat in 2009 and 2014, but in 2019 he lost to the undivided Shiv Sena's Dhairyasheel Mane.

Palghar seat is currently represented by undivided Shiv Sena's Rajendra Gavit. PTI PR MVG NSK KRK

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