The exodus of senior leaders from the party seems to have pushed Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party or NCP to announce candidates early to give them more time to prepare for the upcoming Maharashtra elections.
Mr Pawar announced five candidates for his party in Beed district this afternoon.
The Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, Dhananjay Munde will contest from Parli. Dhananjay Munde is a cousin of Pankaja Munde, who is a cabinet minister in the state.
The party also announced the names of Sandeep Kshirsagar from Beed, Vijaysinh Pandit from Gewrai, Prakash Salunkhe from Mazalgaon and Namita Mundra from Kaij.
Since the parliamentary elections held earlier this year, several senior NCP leaders have quit the party. Among them are Sachin Ahir (former Mumbai NCP President), Madhukar Pichad (former NCP State President) and his son, MLA Vaibhav Pichad, Bhaskar Jadhav (former NCP State President) and senior leader Ganesh Naik and his son MLA Sandeep Naik. Following these exits, Sharad Pawar had said that his party will try out new faces and younger leaders.
The NCP is fighting the elections in alliance with the Congress and the two parties have already announced a seat sharing arrangement. The Congress is expected to release the names of its first set of candidates on Friday.
The NCP and the Congress will contest 125 seats each in next month's Maharashtra Legislative Assembly election, Mr Pawar had said on Monday. According to the arrangement, 38 seats will be left for allies to contest.
The Maharashtra Assembly has 288 seats and elections are likely to be held next month. In 2014, the Congress and NCP fought separately and the Congress won 42 seats while the NCP won 41 seats.
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