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As talk of a pre-poll alliance between the BJP and the Shiv Sena gains ground, aspirants who had switched over to “popular political parties”, ahead of the civic polls, are in a tough spot as they fear they may not be able to get party tickets if it materialises.
As many as 16 sitting corporators in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) have switched political affiliations for the 2017 civic polls. The Congress and the NCP have seen the maximum number of defections, followed by the NCP. Most political leaders have joined the BJP, which is confident of a good performance after its victory in the Lok Sabha seat and all eight assembly constituencies in the city in 2014. However, these defectors are now uneasy, as senior leaders of the BJP and Sena are in favour of a pre-poll alliance. A few of the sitting corporators and former leaders of other parties, currently in the BJP, have been making rounds of the party’s poll office to keep a tab on developments.
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“The decision to switch political parties was taken to get re-elected to the PMC. The popularity of other political parties has declined and it does not make sense to be on the losing side,” said an aspirant. “If there is an alliance, there will be problems while trying to get a party ticket. The seat-sharing arrangement would reduce the chances of getting tickets,” he added.
A Sena leader said the party was ready to contest all seats in the civic body on its own. “We are fully prepared to contest all 162 seats and have identified party candidates already. We have conveyed to the party leadership that the city unit is ready to contest the elections, but the final decision would be taken by them,” he said.
Talk about a pre-poll alliance between Congress and NCP has been doing the rounds. A Congress leader said, “Leaders are divided over the issue, but everyone will have to abide by the high command’s decision”. “In case of an alliance, candidates from the two parties would contest on different symbols, and it would be difficult to seek voters for two symbols in a four-ward electoral panel,” said the leader.