OF OVER 1,700 candidates contesting for both Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporations, there are only five candidates who are fighting their sixth election. Two are trying their luck for the umpteenth time on PCMC terrain while three others are in fray once again on PMC pitch. In the Pune Municipal Corporation, the Congress and later NCP had been in power for long. Therefore, maximum members were elected to civic body, and some have been around for as many as 25 years.
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NCP corporator Subhash Jagtap has been elected to PMC for five times consecutively and would be contesting for the sixth term. His attempt to make it big by contesting Parvati assembly seat in 2014 failed as he was defeated by BJP leader Madhuri Misal. In 2012, Jagtap alongwith his wife was elected to PMC and he was elected as the leader of house. His popularity in the Sahakarnagar area continues to be intact as he has been able to connect with the slum population as well as those living in housing societies. Jagtap is contesting from Sahakarnagar electoral panel where the
NCP and Congress are in alliance. Ulhas Bagul contesting from the Sahakarnagar electoral panel (PMC) too is contesting election for the sixth time after being the member of the civic body for five terms. Among the senior Congress leaders, Bagul had been deputy mayor as well as held various offices in PMC in his 25 years as corporator. Bagul is known for taking up innovative civic projects. He wanted to contest the state assembly and Lok Sabha elections in 2014 on Congress ticket but could not make it in the list of party candidates. His efforts to bring in members of family has not yielded result.
Kamal Vyavahare has been elected to PMC five times in the past and has been the mayor of city. She was also chief of women’s wing of the state Congress. There were opposition from young candidates to give tickets to veterans in the party but the Congress realising its decline has pitched the senior once again in the fray. In Pimpri-Chinchwad, Yogesh Behl, who is the close confidant of NCP leader Ajit Pawar, has been elected to PCMC for five terms from Sant Tukaram Nagar area. He is now contesting for the sixth time from Sant Tukaram Nagar-Kasarwadi panel. Behl has served as mayor, standing committee chairman, NCP House leader and NCP Pimpri-Chinchwad president. In four past elections, he had defeated Yashwant Bhosale. In fifth one, Bhosale had shifted to neighbouring ward. In his sixth term too, Behl faces challenge from Bhosale, a labour leader, who has shifted his allegiance to BJP from NCP. “I am confident this time too I will overcome all the hurdles,” said Behl.
RPI candidate Chandrakanta Sonkamble is another one who is contesting for the sixth time. Five elections she had won to PCMC and one to PMC before Dapodi from where she always contested from was merged with PCMC. This time, her ward stretches from Dapodi, Phugewadi to Kasarwadi. Sonkamble actually is contesting on a BJP ticket this time. This is because RPI has no symbol as it is not a recognised party. After her party leadership found out that she has chosen BJP symbol, she was suspended from the party. “I had no choice. If you are contesting from a particular panel and there are all four candidates with one symbol, it becomes easier for the voters, otherwise one odd candidate could confuse the voter,” she said “I am hoping to hit a six this time,” she added.