New Delhi: With the Congress in Maharashtra dominated by Marathas, a prominent OBC leader is using the backward card to lobby for a party nomination for the Rajya Sabha elections next month.
Uttamsingh Pawar, a two-time Lok Sabha MP, is pleading with the leadership that it is time it heeds to the cause of backwards, who he claims constitute half of the state`s population.
Pawar, who hails from Marathwada region, says that there has not been a single leader from the OBC community in the state who has been made a minister at the Centre.
He claims that the opposition BJP-Shiv Sena combine is giving greater weightage to the OBCs and the appointment of Gopinath Munde as Deputy leader of the BJP in the Lok Sabha is an indication.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, PCC President Manikrao Thakre and prominent state Ministers including Narayan Rane, Patangrao Kadam and Harshavardhan Patil belong to the Maratha caste, he says, adding that "a fair deal" for backwards is needed.
There have been aspirants galore for the two Rajya Sabha seats from the state, some of whom are from the Maratha community. These include former MPs like Rajani Patil, former Union Minister Balasaheb Vikhe Patil and former state Minister Rohidas Patil.
Tribal leader and former state Minister Sarupsingh Naik is also an aspirant so also Anant Gadgil, Maharashtra Congress spokesman, who has made an emotional appeal for the
Rajya Sabha nomination, asking the leadership whether "clean image" was a liability.
Former MP Naresh Puglia and AICC Secretary Avinash
Pande, both of whom hail from Vidarbha region, are also hoping
for a nomination so also former state minister Hussein Dalwai.
Congress could ensure victory of two candidates in the
elections next month. While a vacancy was created after
Shivraj Patil was made the Governor of Punjab, the term of
party MP Vijay Darda is coming to an end.
A section of the party believes that Darda will be
renominated and the tussle could intensify for nomination to
the other seat.