Nagpur: Senior NCP leader and former Union minister Praful Patel has cleared the air over passing off his political baton to family heir. However uncertainty too looms over his candidature from his home turf Bhandara-Gondia in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Talking to the reporters on city airport, Patel made it clear that despite the fact his wife is campaigning for the party, she would not contest elections. He also steered clear that his family will only have only him in electoral politics.
Patel who is currently a Rajya Sabha MP, said, “I will abide by the party decision. If it wants me to contest, I am ready.” Patel is understood to have followed the footsteps of NCP Chief Sharad Pawar who also sidelined himself from projecting any other family member as prospective candidate.
“How many from one family should contest,” was the principled question raised by Pawar. Perhaps, taking cue from it, Patel ruled out possibility of anyone else from his family entering electoral fray. “My term in Rajya Sabha is halfway through so it is for the party to decide whether he should resign from the upper house to seek direct election,” said Patel.
Pawar had recently also remarked that a member from his party quitting Rajya Sabha at this stage would be unwise as it would weaken the Opposition in the upper house. Moreover, the NCP will not be able to send a replacement as they currently do not have enough numbers in state legislature to elect a fresh member for Rajya Sabha. Six months ago NCP had fielded Madhukar Kukde in the by-election for the seat after Nana Patole resigned from Lok Sabha as well as the BJP. In 2014, Patole riding the Modi wave had defeated Patel by a margin of 1.49 lakh votes.
Later, after quitting the BJP and joining back the Congress party, he worked hard for the victory of Kukde. But Kukde was given the nomination on the condition that he would be enjoying only a short term of six months and in the general elections he would have to make way for either Praful Patel or Varsha in the 2019 elections. The NCP now has to decide whether to cut short Patel’s RS term and field him for the April 11 elections or give another chance to Kukde. It is also said that NCP workers are motivated only if Patel is in the fray. They do not give put in all their energies for anyone else.