In Pimpri-Chinchwad, the new geographical boundaries and reservations announced Friday seem to have caused much confusion, giving nervous moments to sitting corporators and other aspirants. While sitting corporators could find themselves pitted against each other, other poll aspirants have started weighing their chances given the expanded geographical boundaries where they have never been to.
Dubbing the 2017 civic polls as a “relay race”, several hopefuls, however, have got busy forming a “four-member” team in the electoral panels which will make “campaigning much easier” for them. Several of them spent the entire Saturday making sense of the geographical boundaries of their electoral panels, who they might be up against in case they entered the fray and whether to shift to other electoral panels and who they should align with. As has been the practice, some said they were also considering switching loyalties.
Kiran Mote (30), a first-time corporator whose family had won from Kasarwadi for at least three times, was thinking of shifting to Keshavnagar-Phugewadi-Dapodi panel. “This is because I will be up against the likes of former mayor Yogesh Behl who had won from Sant Tukaram Nagar area five times. And a chunk of my assured votes have shifted to Phugewadi-Dapodi area,” he said. Mote, however, said he would take a final decision only after being convinced about his chances of winning from a particular panel.
In the Dapodi-Phugewadi-Kasarwadi panel, there are at least eight sitting corporators. It is among the at least two electoral panels of the 32 panels in PCMC where eight sitting corporators found themselves together. Another is the Gandhinagar-Kharalwadi-Ajmera-Nehrunagar panel where too eight sitting corporators will be contesting.
In Dapodi-Phugewadi-Kasarwadi panel, three sitting corporators — Raju Kate, Sanjay Kate and Rohit Kate — will have to contest from open category against each other. Another sitting corporator Chandrakanta Sonkamble, who has won from the area for five times, will face challenge from Ram Ovhal, also a sitting corporator.
Sitting corporators Asha Shendge, who had won from Kasarwadi panel, has already decided to shift to new Dapodi-Phugewadi-Kasarwadi panel. She will be facing challenge from another sitting corporator, Sandhya Gaikwad of Phugewadi. In the two suburbs of Pimpri and Chinchwad, there will be eight corporators elected. Poll aspirant Raja Sawant said, “I have the option of contesting from Pimpri as well as Chinchwad. It will all depend on my mentor Amar Moolchandani. I will contest from where he contests. Both of us will try to rope in two others to form a four-member team.” Sawant said if there were four candidates together, it became easy to campaign as one would gain from each other’s popularity in a particular area.
“Yes, it is true that the 2017 civic polls will be about a relay race. The fate of a particular candidate will depend upon the team he forms. Given the huge geographical boundaries, an individual candidate will find it absolutely difficult to campaign. So it makes sense to form a four-member team,” said Sarang Kamtekar, BJP unit general secretary. After the declaration of the reservations on Friday, it has become clear that at least four sitting corporators had lost their seats as their wards became reserved for other categories. They include Rajendra Jagtap, cousin of MLA Laxman Jagtap, Chandrakant Walke, Tanaji Khade and Arun Tak.
However, bigwigs like Mayor Shakuntala Darade, Deputy Mayor Prabhakar Waghere, NCP House Leader Mangala Kadam, standing committee chairman Dabbu Aswani, Opposition leader Rahul Bhosale, NCP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad’s women wing chief Sujata Palande, Sena House leader Sulbha Unable, BJP House leader Varsha Medigiri and MNS House Leader Anant Korhale have got a breather. Similary, former mayors Yogesh Behl and R S Kumar, former deputy mayors Raju Misal and Usha Waghare too get another chance to contest.