In Pimpri-Chinchwad,420 women candidates are in the fray,the highest ever,compared to around 150 in 2007 elections. This time the figure has gone up almost three-fold after 50 per cent reservation for women.
Thirteen women candidates are contesting from panel no. 12 (Madhukar Pawle school) in Nigdi and Jijamata Hospital in Pimpri. There are no sitting corporators in both the panels. Panel no. 7 is witnessing an interesting battle with as many as five women candidates sharing common surname Tapkir. They are Shiv Senas Deepali Tapkir,NCPs Preeti Tapkir,Congress Vinaya Tapkir,Leelabai Tapkir of MNS and Independent candidate Nirmala Tapkir.
There are 882 candidates in the fray for 128 wards (64 panels) of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. Of these,462 are male candidates. Among the key candidates are former mayors Mangala Kadam,Dr Vaishali Ghodekar,and Aparna Doke. All the three are sitting corporators. Other sitting corporators include Chandrakanta Sonkamble,Sulbha Ubale,Mohini Lande,Seema Savle,Usha Wahgere,Varsha Medigiri,Solachana Bade,Suman Pawle,Jayshree Gawde,Jyoti Bharati.
Chandrakanta Sonkamble,a four-time corporator from RPI,said,Except for one candidate whom I had defeated in the past,all my opponents are newcomers and I face no challenge from them. Sonkamble is contesting from Dapodi-Bhopkel (A) ward which is reserved for SC women.
NCP has fielded two former mayors – Mangala Kadam and Aparna Doke. Kadam is contesting from Sambhajinagar (A) ward. A three-time corporator,Kadam is against Sangeeta Dandavate of Congress,Vidya Kulkarni of MNS and Suman Sandhbor of BJP. Kadam says she is putting her might to make it to PCMC once again. Another former mayor Dr Vaishali Ghodekar has been denied NCP ticket from Masulkar Colony and she is contesting as a rebel against party nominee Mandakini Thakur.
Shiv Sena has fielded sitting corporator Sulbha Ubale from Yamunanagar (B) ward which is for open category candidates. She faces challenge from another sitting corporator Shashikiran Gawli and five others. I had to contest from open category as the neighbouring womens ward is reserved for SC candidates, said Ubale,a two-time corporator and a close associate of MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil. Senas another sitting corporator Seema Savle is contesting from panel no. 37 (B) Mahatma Phule Nagar. Her fight is against Sukhdevi Natekar of NCP and four others. Last time,Savle defeated her Congress rival by mere seven votes. Its a tough contest as restructuring has thrown the ward far and wide, said Savle.
The Congress has fielded its womens wing chief Padminiraje Mohite from panel 62 in Phugewadi against NCPs Sandhya Surdas Gaikwad,wife of sitting NCP corporator Surdas Gaikwad. An advocate by profession,Mohite has contested unsuccessfully twice in the past.