Sitting Pune Lok Sabha MP Suresh Kalmadi, who was denied a ticket by the Congress for contesting the 2014 elections, was busy meeting supporters through the day in the city on Friday. Kalmadi spoke to Ajay Khape on his future plans
Are you serious about contesting the Lok Sabha polls despite being denied a ticket by the Congress?
No. I was pitching my wife Meera for the Congress party ticket for the Pune seat. I was saying if there is problem about me, give the ticket to my wife. She has been working for the Congress party for a long time. The Congress giving her a ticket would have ensured continuity of the work done by me in the city.
Does that mean injustice has been done to you?
By denying tickets, injustice has has been done both to me and my wife. The Congress list has candidates facing corruption charges. A candidate from Bengal convicted for murder features in the list of persons contesting elections on Congress ticket. The Congress has also aligned with RJD in Bihar despite the party president Lalu Prasad being convicted in a corruption case. The court case against me is in the final stage and everything would be clear after the judgement. I wish the order had come earlier before elections.
What is your take on the Congress candidate Vishwajeet Kadam? Will you be supporting him in the Lok Sabha elections?
Kadam is a good candidate and he had met me yesterday. I am yet to decide on his request for support and that will happen only after meeting more party workers.
Can the Congress retain its bastion represented by you for so long with a young candidate such as Kadam?
He is the state youth Congress president and not new to politics. However, the results will only be decided by capabilities. I cannot make any assessment about him now.
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Will you ask for something in return from the Congress for supporting the party candidate?
I had asked for a ticket for my wife but she did not get it. There is a demand from party workers on revoking my suspension from the party. I am not putting any pressure on the party.
Any plans of your wife contesting the election as an Independent or a candidate of any other party?
Many parties — except the BJP—approached me but I won’t reveal anything about this. A decision will be taken only after discussing with party workers. The present candidates are from the Maratha community and there is scope for a Brahmin candidate in the Pune Lok Sabha constituency, considering the vote bank. Meera is a Brahmin.