The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is apparently ‘confused’ regarding fielding a candidate in Maval parliamentary constituency, is in a quandary as several NCP corporators from PCMC have lent what many described as “unstinted support” to Laxman Jagtap, who has decided to contest on the ticket of Peasants and Workers Party (PWP).
This comes hours after Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar warned party leaders against backing anybody other than the official NCP candidate. At a party rally in Thergaon on Friday, Ajit Pawar told the NCP workers that the party would “certainly” field a candidate from Maval. “I have been given the charge of constituencies in Pune district. I will campaign in Maval along with other party leaders. If any leader campaigns for different candidates, NCP will take serious note of it,” he said.
While Jagtap, a sitting MLA and associate member of the party, refused to confirm the presence of number of PCMC corporators during his campaigning in Raigad, Pimpri-Chinchwad Deputy Mayor Raju Misal, an NCP leader, said current and formers corporators were present. “I don’t know how many corporators were present. I was busy campaigning,”
Jagtap said. When asked whether he was avoiding naming the corporators fearing party wrath, Jagtap conceded he does not want to put them in trouble. Jagtap, however, confirmed that he has decided to file nomination on PWP ticket.
Some of the corporators who were present did not fight shy of revealing that they went to Raigad with Jagtap.
“Our party has not announced its candidate so far. We are all hopeful that Laxman Jagtap will change his mind and file nomination on NCP ticket,” said Misal. He said though there were 30 corporators who were present with Jagtap in Raigad area, there are others too who are ready to extend support to Jagtap.
“Jagtap is a popular leader and that’s why they call come on their own to support him. We are confident that he will win the seat for the party,” said Misal.
Shatrughan Kate, an NCP corporator, said, “I am supporting Jagtap and will campaign for him. We are also trying to convince him to contest only on NCP ticket and not join any other party,” Kate said.
Akurdi corporator Javed Shaikh said Jagtap was peeved at the state for not issuing an ordinace for regularising the illegal structures in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Shaikh said apart from Kate and Misal, other corporators like Prashant Shitole, Shamim Pathan, Avinash Tekadwade, Rajendra Jagtap, Vaishali Jawalkar, Zamabai Barne, Sanjay Kate and Rajendra Jagtap were present. Former mayors Anita Pharande and Aparna Doke were present.
Asked whether the party will take disciplinary action against errant corporators, Yogesh Behl, president of Pimpri-Chinchwad unit of NCP, said, “We have informed Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar about the presence of corporators at Jagtap’s meeting…He will have to take action in the matter,” he said.
However, Behl was quick to add that as there was confusion regarding the fielding of a candidate from Maval, the corporators are currently siding with Jagtap with the hope that he would change his mind.