Congress unwilling to let NCP take Maval seat

A day after NCP supremo Sharad Pawar asked his party leaders to start preparations for contesting the Maval Lok Sabha constituency...

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune | Published: February 11, 2009 3:33:37 am

Cong team trying to impress upon high command need to keep it

A day after NCP supremo Sharad Pawar asked his party leaders to start preparations for contesting the Maval Lok Sabha constituency,the Congress party has come out in the open to say that they were the rightful claimants. Making a strong pitch for the newly formed Maval constituency,Congress leaders contend that if Maval was handed over to NCP,the very existence of Congress in Pune would be under threat.

Pawar’s directives to partymen to “immediately start” campaigning in Maval came on Monday when a delegation of NCP leaders from Pimpri-Chinchwad met him at his Govindbaug residence in Baramati. The team handed over a memorandum to Pawar,seeking Maval Lok Sabha seat for Azam Pansare,president of NCP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit. Pimpri-Chinchwad Mayor Aparna Doke,Deputy Mayor Sharad Borhade,MLA Vilas Lande and NCP’s PCMC house leader Jagdish Shetty were present.

Addressing the leaders,Pawar said that since Uran and Panvel,part of Raigad Lok Sabha constituency,have been added to Maval Lok Sabha constituency,the NCP will have to stretch itself to reach out to the masses. The NCP’s candidate for Maval is likely to be announced on February 25.

“We met Pawar to push Pansare as the Maval candidate. He asked us to start preparations for contesting Maval,” said MLA Vilas Lande,adding that the party is rallying behind Pansare.

On his part,Pansare said Pawar asked him to take stock of the Maval constituency as the party will field its candidate from there. “Pawarsaheb clearly said NCP will contest from Maval. As per his directions,today I went to Lonavla to get a firsthand knowledge of the constituency,” said Pansare who 10 years back had lost the Assembly elections from Haveli. “This time,I am well-prepared. The situation is ripe for an NCP candidate to win,” he said.

The move has not gone down well with the Congress. “I don’t think Pawar has said the NCP will contest from Maval. He will not say so because it will be decided in the seat-sharing talks,” said Bhausaheb Bhoir,president of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Congress. Bhoir and a few other Congress leaders is in Delhi trying to impress upon the high command the need to keep Maval with the party.

“We have already met Sonia Gandhi,A K Antony and Prithviraj Chavan and tried to convince them about claiming the seat. We told the party leaders that if Maval is handed over to the NCP,Congress’ existence in Pune will be under threat,” said Bhoir.

Cooperation Minister Harshavardhan Patil,who wields considerable influence in Pimpri-Chinchwad and Maval,said,”Seat-sharing discussions are still on. Nothing has been decided. Party leaders will take the decision on Maval seat.”

Bhoir,who is one of the aspirants for the Lok Sabha seat,said Maval seat includes Uran,Panvel and Khopoli assembly constituencies where Congress already has an upper hand. “Uran,Panvel and Khopoli are part of the Raigad LS constituency from where Antualy had won. Even in Pimpri-Chinchwad and Maval areas,Congress had a larger vote share in the past elections. Therefore,Maval should automatically go to Congress,” Bhoir said.

The Congress has reason to be worried as the Baramati and Shirur Lok Sabha seats are already with the NCP. Out of the 15 talukas in Baramati,Shirur and Maval constituency segments,12 are with the NCP.

Congress corporator Babu Nair,who is part of the delegation in New Delhi,said Congress’ case for Maval is strong. “The Congress has been ruling Panvel,Uran and Lonavla civic bodies. Besides,in Lonavla city and Dehu Road,Congress is the leading party,” he said.

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