Rallies,mobiles,cyberspace… candidate Kalmadi’s everywhere

Amidst opposition from within and outside the party,sitting Congress MP and probable party candidate for Pune Lok Sabha seat Suresh Kalmadi is leaving no stone unturned in his efforts to reach out to the masses...

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune | Published: February 23, 2009 12:10 am

All the way : Faced with dissidence from all sides,sitting MP steps up campaign

Amidst opposition from within and outside the party,sitting Congress MP and probable party candidate for Pune Lok Sabha seat Suresh Kalmadi is leaving no stone unturned in his efforts to reach out to the masses,using posters,pamphlets,short messaging service,Internet,rallies and roadshows in slums.

It all started with SMSes to mark 100 days of the Commonwealth Youth Games held in October last year. A fortnight ago,a poster featuring a photograph of Kalmadi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar at a sports function took everyone by surprise. It was a move apparently aimed at countering the opposition to Kalmadi from the city NCP unit.

The leader has also started visiting the slums that constitute 40 per cent of the city’s population besides holding rallies. Pamphlets urging the people to visit his website and join him in penning down a ‘Vision 2020’ document for the proper development of Pune are being circulated throughout the city.

“I have worked consistently to solve the problems being faced by our growing city. City infrastructure and development in various sectors have been achieved to some extent. Traffic regulation,however,is still a major concern,” Kalmadi says in his pamphlet. “I have started formulating a plan — a comprehensive document on what I think are the developments to be carried out to make Pune a model city by 2020. I call it VISION 2020. A lot of brain-storming and thoughts have gone into its creation. 2020 seems a long way off; however,conceptualisation and implementation of a comprehensive long-term plan will take that much time,” he says.

Meanwhile,leading the anti-Kalmadi faction,party MLC Mohan Joshi said,“There has been no announcement on the party candidate for Pune seat. We have conveyed to the state Congress chief our displeasure with Kalmadi’s proclamation of his candidature by organising various activities.”

It has been clarified that the activities are not part of election campaign,but mere efforts to reach out to the masses,he said. “The intention of the activities is clear and we have complained about them to the party leaders in Delhi.”

For the BJP,which is most likely to contest the Pune seat,the pre-poll activities by the Congress is a display of panic. “The sitting Congress MP is making all efforts to reach to the public. There is no harm in doing that,but it shows the panic in their camp,” said BJP leader Vikar Mathkari,also a probable candidate.

Reacting to Kalmadi’s statement that the BJP is struggling to find any candidate against him,Matkari said,“BJP is a democratic party and we abide by the party decision. We are awaiting the announcement,unlike in the Congress where a leader kicks off his campaign and other leaders object to it.”

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