Deepak Nikalje, the brother of jailed gangster Chhota Rajan, will contest the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections on a Republican Party of India (Athawale) ticket, party chief Ramdas Athawale announced in Mumbai on Wednesday. The party, which is an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has fielded Nikalje from Phaltan constituency, PTI reported.

The Republican Party of India (A) is contesting from six seats as part of the seat-sharing deal among the BJP, Shiv Sena and other smaller allies. Elections to the 288-seat legislature will be held on October 21 and the results will be announced on October 24.

Apart from Phaltan, Athawale’s party will contest from Malshiras in Solapur district, Bhandara and Naigaon in Nanded district, Pathri in Parbhani and Mankhurd-Shivaji Nagar in Mumbai.

Nikalje had earlier unsuccessfully fought Assembly elections from Chembur in Mumbai on the party’s ticket. “This time he expressed willingness to fight the election from Phaltan since he belongs to that area and has a good network there,” a senior party leader told PTI.

Senior leaders like Eknath Khadse missing from BJP’s second list

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday released its second list of 14 candidates for the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections. Names of senior leaders like Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde and Prakash Mehta did not feature in the second list.

In 2014, the BJP had won 122 seats, and the Shiv Sena 63. The Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance is the main Opposition group.

So far, the saffron party has released names of its candidates for 139 Assembly constituencies. On Tuesday, it announced its first list of 125 candidates. The party has fielded Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis from Nagpur South West. BJP’s state unit chief Chandrakant Patil will contest from Kothrud in Pune. Congress rebels Harshwardhan Patil and Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil will contest from Indapur and Shirdi constituencies.

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