RS polls: Will support any candidate chosen by Shiv Sena, says Sharad Pawar

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The tenure of six Rajya Sabha members from Maharashtra — Piyush Goyal, Vinay Sahastrabuddhe. Vikas Mahatme, P. Chidambaram, Praful Patel and Sanjay Raut ends on July 4.

The tenure of six Rajya Sabha members from Maharashtra — Piyush Goyal, Vinay Sahastrabuddhe. Vikas Mahatme, P. Chidambaram, Praful Patel and Sanjay Raut ends on July 4.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar has said his party will support Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati or any other candidate chosen by the Shiv Sena in the upcoming polls to six Rajya Sabha seats in Maharashtra.

Mr. Pawar was talking to reporters after meeting representatives of some Brahmin community organisations in Pune on May 21.

The tenure of six Rajya Sabha members from Maharashtra — Piyush Goyal, Vinay Sahastrabuddhe and Vikas Mahatme (all three from the BJP), P. Chidambaram (Congress), Praful Patel (NCP) and Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) ends on July 4.

The polls are scheduled on June 10. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) can win two Rajya Sabha seats with the number of MLAs it has, while the ruling allies Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP in Maharashtra can win a seat each. The contest will, therefore, be for the sixth seat.

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Mr. Sambhajiraje, a member of the Kolhapur royal family and descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was earlier a President-nominated member of the Upper House of Parliament.

Mr. Sambhajiraje recently announced that he would contest the next election to the Rajya Sabha as an independent candidate, and appealed to all parties to back him.

To a query from reporters here on May 21, Mr. Pawar said, "Two years ago, we had demanded two seats (in the Rajya Sabha) and we got those. But, this time, we will get one seat."

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"After supporting our candidate, we will have votes to support one candidate of the Shiv Sena. They may choose Mr. Sambhajiraje or any other candidate, we will support the candidate chosen by the Shiv Sena," the NCP chief said.

Some senior Shiv Sena leaders recently said the party will field a second candidate in the coming Rajya Sabha polls, a move that could then hamper the prospects of Mr. Sambhajiraje Chhatrapati.

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