Lok Sabha Election 2019

Candidate from Maval not yet finalised: Sharad Pawar

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NCP faces an uphill task in Maval, Shirur despite cracks in BJP- Shiv Sena alliance

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said on Wednesday the party has not yet finalised the candidature of his grand nephew Parth Pawar from Maval Lok Sabha seat. Parth is the son of former Deputy Chief Minister and Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar and is tipped to represent the next generation of the Pawar family.

Addressing a meeting of booth workers of the region surrounding Pune district, Mr. Pawar said the list of candidates would be declared in a day or two. “We are yet to decide on the final list. Party seniors will take a call on that in the next two days,” he is reported to have told members of the audience who demanded that Parth be given a ticket.

There were some reports of Parth Pawar walking out of the event when Mr. Sharad Pawar did not give a definite answer. However, party spokespersons denied this and said Parth was not even present during the video conferencing event. “He was visiting the local constituency. These rumour have no basis,” said party spokesperson Nawab Malik.

The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faces an uphill task to dislodge the firmly entrenched Shiv Sena from the crucial Maval and Shirur Lok Sabha constituencies in Pune district.

While Mr. Pawar has already endorsed the candidacy of his grand-nephew Parth Pawar for Maval, the party is considering fielding popular Marathi television actor Dr. Amol Kolhe from Shirur.

On Wednesday, Mr. Parth Pawar held meetings with NCP, Congress and Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) workers in Mahad, Khopoli and Karjat.

His father Ajit Pawar, who had been lobbying hard for his son’s candidacy, held a meeting with party workers in Panvel.

While Mr. Pawar urged PWP workers to ensure Parth’s victory, he prudently remarked that his son’s candidacy was not yet certain. “Nobody’s candidacy is certain until the final list is out,” he said.

Daunting challenge

However, it will take more than a political neophyte or a TV actor to dislodge the two Sena MPs solidly entrenched in Maval and Shirur.

In Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil, the two-time Sena MP from Shirur, and Shrirang Barne, MP from Maval, the NCP faces a daunting challenge.

It will also have to cope with disgruntled elements from within the party following the induction of Dr. Kolhe, an actor known for his portrayal of warrior kings Shivaji and Sambhaji, which has not gone down well with former NCP legislator Vilas Lande and his loyalists.

Recently, Mr. Lande’s supporters attempted to heckle Mr. Ajit Pawar during a party event in Pimrpi-Chinchwad, which he managed to silence with warnings and threats.

“Amol Kolhe has no connect with voters at the grassroots level,” alleged a supporter of Mr. Lande, adding that workers had not taken kindly to an ‘imported candidate’.

Shadow of infighting

On the other hand, the threat to Sena’s fortunes in Maval and Shirur is not posed by the NCP, but by restive leaders of its own ally, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

While the BJP and the Sena may have inked an alliance, seething inter-party rivalry on the ground level promises to disrupt Mr. Barne’s hold over Maval.

The BJP, in the form of its powerful Pimpri-Chinchwad MLA Laxman Jagtap, has been demanding that the party field its own candidate from Maval. Mr. Jagtap’s supporters have refused support for Mr. Barne and even submitted memoranda to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on the matter.

The reason for this quarrel is the ongoing political feud between Mr. Jagtap, formerly of the NCP and the PWP, and Mr. Barne.

Mr. Jagtap had trounced Mr. Barne in the 2009 Assembly elections only to have the tables turned on him in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

However, Mr. Jagtap managed to salvage his Lok Sabha defeat after the BJP bagged three of the six Assembly seats which are part of the Maval Lok Sabha constituency during the 2014 Assembly election held in October.

In the crucial civic polls held in February 2017, the BJP inflicted a crushing defeat on the NCP with a landslide victory in Pimpri-Chinchwad.

These developments further strengthened the BJP — and Mr. Jagtap’s — hand in Maval and Shirur.

Senior BJP leaders said all past rivalries would have to be swept under the carpet for the common good of the saffron ‘Mahayuti’. “If a Shiv Sena candidate [read Mr. Barne] is fielded from Maval, all BJP leaders and workers there have been instructed to work for his victory. There is no question of any rift now that an alliance has been formed,” said Minister of State for Social Justice, Dilip Kamble, MLA from Pune Cantonment.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 1:33:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/candidate-from-maval-not-yet-finalised-sharad-pawar/article26525812.ece

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