The Ajit Pawar-led faction of the Nationalist Congress Party on Tuesday said that it will field Sunetra Pawar from Maharashtra’s Baramati constituency for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, The Indian Express reported.

Sunetra Pawar is the wife of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

“NCP [Ajit Pawar faction] workers are of the opinion that the party should contest from constituencies [in] which we have a strong base,” Sunil Tatkare, the party’s state unit chief, said at a press conference in Mumbai. “NCP is firm on contesting in Baramati from within the ruling alliance. Once a final decision is made, Sunetra Pawar will be the party candidate from Baramati.”

The Ajit Pawar-led party is currently negotiating a seat-sharing deal with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led faction of the Shiv Sena.

Sunetra Pawar is the first candidate announced by the Ajit Pawar-led faction of the Nationalist Congress Party for the Lok Sabha polls.

The Baramati seat is currently held by Ajit Pawar’s cousin Supriya Sule, a leader of the Sharad Pawar-led faction of the Nationalist Congress Party. Sule has been an MP from Baramati since 2009. The seat is considered a stronghold of the Pawar family with Sharad Pawar having held it from 1996 to 2009.

In July, Ajit Pawar, along with several party MLAs, joined Maharashtra’s coalition government, comprising the BJP and Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction. Ajit Pawar then became the deputy chief minister.

The move led to a split in the Nationalist Congress Party, with one faction supporting Sharad Pawar and the other backing Ajit Pawar.

In February, the Election Commission recognised the faction led by Ajit Pawar as the real Nationalist Congress Party and allocated it the “clock” electoral symbol. Sharad Pawar’s group was assigned the name “Nationalist Congress Party – Sharadchandra Pawar” for the Rajya Sabha polls in the state.

The Sharad Pawar faction has challenged in the Supreme Court the poll body’s decision to recognised the rival faction as the real party.