Like in Pune, sitting legislators of the three Assembly seats in Pimpri-Chinchwad too are on a shaky ground. As per the 2009 seat-sharing formula, two of the three seats — Pimpri and Bhosari — are with the NCP, while Chinchwad is with the Congress.
At present, all three seats are with the NCP. While the NCP had wrested the Pimpri seat last time, Chinchwad and Bhosari were won by rebel NCP MLAs who later became associate NCP MLAs.
The NCP, however, wants to contest from Chinchwad this time, instead of Pimpri. Newly-elected Mayor Shakuntala Darade has appealed to the NCP high command to exchange the seats. The reason is simple: it wants to field sitting MLA Laxman Jagtap from here. Jagtap’s status is not known, though, as he has not announced yet if he is joining the NCP or not.
Asked which party does he belong to, Jagtap gave an evasive reply: “There will be a tie-up between the NCP and the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) in the elections. I am already associated with the PWP.” While he stopped short of revealing whether he will be rejoining the NCP, efforts seem to be on to bring him back to the party fold. The Jagtap camp is playing the waiting game. If Chinchwad stays with the Congress, Jagtap plans to contest as a PWP candidate. If it comes to the NCP, Jagtap will automatically be the candidate.
As for the Congress, its president Bhausaheb Bhoir has already resigned from the post and is determined to contest with or without party support. “I have suffered a lot… This time, I have already started the campaign,” he said.
Another top Congress leader Azam Pansare is not revealing his cards, though. The Congress may field him, but Pansare has some reservations. “If Jagtap fights from Chinchwad, Pansare may not enter the fray,” said a Pansare associate.
In Pimpri (Reserved) seat, sitting MLA Anna Bansode looks on a shaky ground. Two of his strong rivals are corporator Seema Savle, who was expelled from the Shiv Sena during the Lok Sabha elections, and advocate Sushil Mancharkar of the Congress. Both Savle and Mancharkar started campaigning immediately after the Lok Sabha election results were out. Both have covered a major part of the constituency. Bansode has still much ground to cover. His inaccessibility is what has hurt the voters in Pimpri, but his supporters defend him.
“Anna will bounce back. He works silently for the masses unlike others who make a show of their work,” said Satish Landge, a close associate of Bansode.
Mancharkar, who will be contesting the Assembly elections first time, said: “I think Pimpri seat needs a qualified, intelligent and accessible MLA. As an advocate, I have already been discharging these duties.” Savle, who is PCMC’s most vocal corporator, said: “I have worked for the uplift of the poor and youngsters all through my seven years as a corporator. My work speaks for itself and I will go all out in this election.”
In Bhosari constituency, sitting MLA Vilas Lande too looks nervous. He is being challanged by his son-in-law Mahesh Landge, who is the PCMC standing committee chairman. “Come what may, my brother will not withdraw from the race. A lot of injustice has been done to us for the past many years. It is time to seek justice,” said Kartik Landge, younger brother of Mahesh Landge.
The Landes and Landges will face a tough contest from Shiv Sena’s Sulbha Ubale, who had finished second last time. The BJP-Sena alliance has a strong presence in Bhosari and during the Lok Sabha elections, Bhosari had given a lead to Shiv Sena’s Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil. The Ubale camp is banking on this support.