A few days ago they were bitter rivals, leaving no stone unturned to ensure their victory in the closely contested Lok Sabha elections. But, now that the polling is over in Pune, and after a ‘slam-bang’ campaign trail, it is time for some political chit-chat, light-hearted banter and admiration — it is time for some friendship.
There was a general bonhomie during an informal meeting of the candidates from rival parties over breakfast at Wadeshwar restaurant on Fergusson College Road on Wednesday. BJP candidate Anil Shirole, Congress’s Vishwajeet Kadam and AAP’s Subhash Ware pulled each other’s legs as they admitted both to their strengths and weaknesses, besides discussing their experience of campaigning — the difficulties they faced and the fun they had. Pune had gone to polls on April 17.
The breakfast meeting was organised by NCP district chief Ankush Kakde and attended by senior journalists and activists. MNS candidate Deepak Paigude could not join the meeting as he was campaigning for his friend and party candidate from South Central Mumbai Aditya Shirodkar.
“Wouldn’t it be the best if all four get 1.25 year each as an MP,” quipped Shirole. The other two agreed, but host Kakade said the arrangement would be acceptable only if the Congress-NCP candidate got the first term. “Then there’s no question of quitting after 1.25 years,” he said in jest.
“We are political rivals, not enemies. We will have to work together for betterment of the city with each other even after the results are out. Sharing each other’s views is important and it was fun to meet here over breakfast,” Shirole said after the meeting.
Kadam, youngest among the three, said: “Puneites are famous for being well cultured. Keeping aside our political differences, we met today and shall continue to do so in future as well.” Ware said: “Politics is at its place and personal relations also have a separate place. Political leaders coming together and sharing their ideas is always a good thing.”
Did Suresh Kalmadi’s exit from the political arena help or harm their prospects, and whose votes would the AAP candidate get were among the most debated topics at the meeting. When asked about the reason for hosting the get-together, Kakade said: “I always wanted to contest Lok Sabha polls. But
I don’t get to do it. Hence, I have to do all these things to pacify myself.” Speaking over phone from Mumbai, Paigude said he would have loved to participate in such a meeting, but was busy in a party campaign in Mumbai.