A day after the last day of filing nominations, the Pimpri Chinchwad unit of the BJP has erupted into crisis with a section of the party openly rebelling against the official candidates of the party. Many of those who are on the war path are party old timers and have now decided to jump into the election fray as independent candidates. Prior to the elections, the BJP has been growing exponentially in the Pimpri Chinchwad area with many NCP, Congress leaders making a beeline for entry into the party. Mahesh Landge, the independent MLA form Bhosari, senior NCP leader Azam Pansare and others had joined the BJP along with their followers. Many of the sitting corporators from NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress had also joined the party prior to the elections. Even before the elections were announced, there were two distinct division in the party comprising of the old timers and the ones who had recently joined who were referred to as NCP B.
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In view of the upswing in the party’s fortune, the BJP had many aspirants for tickets. Friday being the last day for distribution of tickets, many of the party old timers said they were left out of the process which compelled them to raise the flag of rebellion. Veena Sonwalkar, general secretary of the party, was an aspirant who was denied the ticket at the last moment. Sonwalkar said the BJP as a party has ceased to exist in Pimpri Chinchwad and its only NCP A versus NCP B fighting it out. “Of the 128 candidates who have been given ticket, only 10 are old timers while rest are imports from the NCP,” she said.
Soon after the distribution of the tickets, the peeved section of the party shot off letters to the chief minister, the state president and took to sharing their angst on the social media. A large section of such leaders had also met on Saturday evening to discuss their next course of action. Those who had filed their nominations have declared their intention to fight out the election as independent candidates. “We will not be working for the other candidates,” she said. Sonwalkar was contacted by the chief minister who had assured that justice will be done to them. A section of the party has also started clamouring for the removal of the city president, Laxman Jagtap.
Jagtap, who had joined the BJP prior to the Assembly elections, is considered close the chief minister, who is personally looking into the affairs concerning Pimpri Chinchwad. Considered the strong hold of NCP, the BJP wants to win this corporation by all means. When contacted Sarang Kamthekar, another general secretary of the party, said the old timers will be placated in the party. Kamthekar who is considered to be close to Jagtap had to wait till the 11th hour to file his nominations as there was opposition to it from sections close to MLA Mahesh Landge. “The tickets were distributed purely on electoral merit,” he said.