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Journalism of Courage

Chinchwad by-poll: It’s Nana Kate vs Ashwini Jagtap but rebel Rahul Kalate threatens to rock their boat

The scales finally tilted in favour of Nana Kate who filed his nominations on Tuesday and so did Rahul Kalate, a Sena rebel candidate. The announcement was made by NCP state chief Jayant Patil this morning through a tweet.

Kate represented Pimple Saudagar in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. (Facebook)
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After keeping the suspense till the last day of filing nomination papers, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday nominated former corporator Nana Kate for the Chinchwad Assembly seat.

He will take on Ashwini Jagtap of BJP who filed her papers on Monday. Both will have to shrug off the challenge from Shiv Sena rebel candidate Rahul Kalate, who too filed his nomination papers.

NCP leader Ajit Pawar was put under tremendous pressure by at least 10 aspirants who argued that one of them should get the ticket.

The scales finally tilted in favour of Nana Kate who filed his nominations on Tuesday and so did Rahul Kalate, a Sena rebel candidate. The announcement was made by NCP state chief Jayant Patil this morning through a tweet.

“Nana Kate will be our candidate for Chinchwad seat,” NCP Pimpri-Chinchwad unit president Ajit Gavahane told this newspaper.

The announcement came after long deliberations Ajit Pawar had with Nana Kate and Shiv Sena leader Rahul Kalate who was seeking NCP nominations. First, Ajit Pawar held a closed-door meeting with party leaders at a hotel in Ravet. The meeting went on till 11 pm. Ajit Pawar came out of the meeting and told reporters that he will announce the name of the candidate before 11 am on Tuesday. “We had conducted a survey in which some names have emerged…I will announce one of the names tomorrow before 11 am,” he said.

Ajit Pawar then went back to his residence in Bhosalenagar area. Top NCP leaders and a few aspirants followed him. Nana Kate and Rahul Kalate were also present. Heated discussions went on till 1 in the morning. Most were against Rahul Kalate but Ajit Pawar was soft towards him, said an NCP leader. By 10 am, NCP announced the name of Vithal Kate, better known as Nana Kate, as its candidate.


Kate went to file his nominations in a padyatra along with top NCP leaders including Ajit Pawar. Unfazed by the rejection, Rahul Kalate also filed his nomination as an independent candidate.

Ajit Pawar said Congress and Shiv Sena have approved the name of Kate for Chinchwad seat. “After making the decision, I had informed Congress and Shiv Sena leaders who gave their consent,” said Pawar.

Kalate said though he wanted to contest on NCP ticket, he has now decided to contest as an independent candidate. “I think I have a better chance of winning the seat than the NCP candidate,” he told this paper after filing his nomination.


Kalate said his premise is based on the fact that he had consistently performed better against the likes of Laxman Jagtap who was at the peak of his popularity. “In 2014 elections, I secured 65,000 votes and in the 2019 elections my popularity shot up and notched over 1.12 lakh votes. The number of votes that I polled against Jagtap clearly reflected my rising stock. And now that Jagtap is no more, I think it is my turn to serve the people and constituency,” he said.

Kalate said he will not withdraw from the race. “There is pressure on me from certain quarters to withdraw from the race…But I am determined to stay put. I will not withdraw come what may,” he said.

The number of votes that Kalate had secured against Jagtap had made NCP consider fielding him. However, there was pressure on Ajit Pawar from NCP leaders and at least 10 aspirants to keep “outsiders” at bay. “There were at least 10 contenders for the seat from NCP and all of them are opposing the nomination of Kalate. We wanted one among us to be picked,” said NCP leader Bhausaheb Bhoir who was one of the aspirants.

Kate represented Pimple Saudagar prabhag in PCMC. He and his wife both were elected corporators from Pimple Saudagar area in 2017 civic elections. Kate has also served as president of NCP’s local unit. He is popular in Pimple Saudagar and Rahatni area. He had contested 2014 assembly elections but had to remain content at third place with 42,000 votes. “During my tenure as the corporator, I have turned Pimple Saudagar and Rahatni areas into smart suburbs. The kind of development work that has happened in these suburbs is unparalleled. I will live up to the faith reposed in me by my party and leaders by winning the seat,” he told this newspaper. Ashwini Jagtap, the BJP candidate, too said she will seek votes on the basis of the work done by her late husband, Laxman Jagtap.

NCP leaders said since the chief minister and deputy chief minister have appealed to Pawar to not field a candidate as per Maharashtra’s political tradition, he took his time to announce the name. “The delay in announcing the ticket is not just because of too many claimants but the leader will also give a thought to the appeal made by the CM and deputy CM,” said Gavahane.


After the meeting, Ajit Pawar, however, said, “CM and Deputy CM have contacted me for an unopposed election. But MVA has decided to contest both Kasba and Chinchwad seats.”

First published on: 07-02-2023 at 09:37 IST
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