NCP to field Shivaji, Sahu Maharaj descendants in Maha

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 13 2009, 06:27am hrs
The ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday received a major boost as the descendants of King Shivaji and Sahu Maharaj have joined the party. King Shivajis 13th descendant, Udayanraje Bhosale has given a primary membership and he will be fielded from the Satara Lok Sabha constituency while Sahu Maharaj progeny, Sambhajiraje Bhosale will be partys nominee from the Kolhapur constituency.

Besides, NCP, which has yet to strike a seat-sharing deal with the Congress party for 48 LS seats in the state, has also attracted the rebel Shiv Sena MP Tukaram Rege Patil from Parbhani. He had defied the Sena diktat during the last years crucial vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha.

Since the delimitation process has merged NCP represented Satara and Karhad seats into Satara constituency, the party thought it fit to nominate Udayanraje as its candidate as he has mass following. Udayanraje, who was the minister of state for revenue during the BJP-Sena rule in 1995-99, had later joined the Congress. However, he on Thursday joined the NCP.

The party shrewdly nominated Sambhajiraje Bhosale from Kolhapur to kill two birds with one stoneto settle intra-party feud and checkmating Congress and BJP-Sena.

Incidentally, Bhosales borther Malojirao is a Congress legislator from Kolhapur. Udayanraje in the past has lost once Lok Sabha seat and twice elections to the state assembly.

However, Udayanraje has a chequered history as he was arrested on the polling day on September 11, 1999 for his alleged involvement in the murder of a Congress worker, Sharad Leve. Later he was released on bail.

Moreover, Udayanraje is known for his aggressive and ruthless style of functioning. Recently, he had organised district level rallies and meetings to garner support ahead of Lok Sabha elections and also criticised the state government for suppressing his drive. Incidentally, NCP chose to padron Udayanraje and nominate him as the party candidate with a sole intention of retaining the Satara LS seat.