Updated: February 4, 2019 4:54:01 am
THE SITTING BJP MP from Pune Anil Shirole, who had been keeping a low profilefor some time, resurfaced over the weekend, meeting party workers and corporators, as he prepared to stake claim over the Pune seat once again. The Congress party, on the other hand, moved a step closer to finalising its candidate for the Pune Lok Sabha seat.
“Of the five names proposed, the state Congress has shortlisted three. These names have been sent by the state parliamentary board to the central screening committee,” said Congress city spokesperson Ramesh Iyer.
The three shortlisted candidates are Mohan Joshi, Abhay Chhajed and Arvind Shinde. The Congress is holding regular meetings with party leaders and corporators. “Tomorrow (Monday), we will be holding a meeting of all block-level leaders,” said Iyer.
On Saturday, Shirole was at a gathering of all party leaders and corporators. “We have been holding a gathering on the first of the second month every year. The purpose is to interact with city leaders of all parties, discuss various issues and take their suggestions,” said Siddharth Shirole, the son of the MP, who, despite repeated attempts, was unavailable for comment. District Guardian Minister Girish Bapat and city BJP president Yogesh Gogawale were also supposed to meet Shirole on Saturday but they not turn up. Bapat is also in the race for the Pune seat. Gogawale said he was busy with other programmes.
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While hectic campaigning is being witnessed in Maval, Shirur and Baramati Lok Sabha constituencies, political activity in Pune city so far has come mainly from the Congress. Asked why Shirole was maintaining a low profile, Siddharth said: “This is my father’s style. In the last elections, too, my father went slow in the initial phases and picked up pace later.” Siddharth said there is an entire team in BJP that works during the elections. “Right from the Prime Minister to the lowest level party workers, all are involved. We have to work within the framework given by the party,” he said.
Denying that his father was less visible because of the possibility of not getting a ticket, Siddharth said: “My father is very much in the race. If the party gives nod, he will surely contest. He will soon be presenting the details of his work done in last five years before the party,” he said.
Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade is also reported to be seeking a BJP ticket for the Lok Sabha. He is said to be in touch with Congress and NCP leaders as well. “These are only rumours. Kakade is not even our party member,” the Congress spokesperson said. Kakade was unavailable for comment.
BJP president Amit Shah is slated to hold a session with nearly 10,000 “shakti kendra pramukhs” and “booth pramukhs” of Pune, Shirur and Baramati constituencies at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch on February 9.
“Our party president will be addressing the leaders during a session,” said Gogawale. Asked if he is likely to hint at a possible candidate for the Pune seat, Gogawale said: “All these decisions are taken by the party’s central board.”
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