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Election ball set rolling,fight for Pune begins

Battlelines have been clearly drawn for Pune Lok Sabha seat that would go to polls on April 23.

Written by Express News Service | Pune |
March 25, 2009 2:36:46 am

Candidates charge full steam ahead
Kalmadi off to a flying start with Pawar support,Shirole promises to resolve civic problems

Battlelines have been clearly drawn for Pune Lok Sabha seat that would go to polls on April 23. A day after two major players announced the name of their candidates,sitting MP Suresh Kalmadi of the Congress and Anil Shirole of the BJP stomped the streets and tried to put on a brave face after weeks of high drama over their respective party ticket.

The two made it known that they were game for the fight in the face of the severe infighting plaguing their parties.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar all set to be present for the formal launch of Kalmadi’s campaign at Congress Bhavan on Saturday. NCP candidates Supriya Sule from Baramati and Vilas Lande from Shirur will also attend the joint rally of both the parties. Kalmadi made his public appearance by addressing party workers at Congress Bhavan while Shirole held a press conference to announce his polls strategy. Balasaheb Shivarkar and Mohan Joshi,who had also sought the ticket,were conspicuous by their absence in the first meeting of the party workers after the announcement of the Congress candidature. “Shivarkar and other leaders could not make it to the meeting,but will be there in the next party gathering,” Kalmadi told party workers.

The Kalmadi faction was present in full strength. Congress city unit chief Abhay Chhajed,legislators Ramesh Bagawe,Chandrakant Chhajed and Vinayak Nimhan,along with party corporators,attended the meet.

On the other hand,Shirole made his appearance in the presence of BJP city unit chief Girish Bapat.

The others who had claimed the ticket, Vikas Matkari and Anna Joshi,were also present. Shiv Sena city chief Nana Wadekar,Deputy Mayor Chandrakant Mokate and Shyam Deshpande were present to express their solidarity with the alliance candidate.

“There were many contenders for the party ticket and this competition shows the growing strength of the party. Matkari and Joshi were in the race and are present at the press conference. We will work hard to ensure the victory of our candidate,” Bapat told reporters.

The party workers will visit every household at least twice in the next one month of campaigning,he said,adding that the city BJP unit will also hold an awareness campaign for increasing the voter turnout. The manifesto of the party for Pune city will be declared soon. It will address the party’s assurance of resolving the slum,traffic and water issues,Bapat said.

“I will highlight the contribution of BJP to the development of the city while seeking votes. I will ensure that the civic problems will be resolved after I get elected to Lok Sabha,” Shirole said. Meanwhile,BSP candidate D S Kulkarni,MNS candidate Ranjit Shirole and Independent Arun Bhatia have engaged themselves in door-to-door campaigning.

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