WITH BJP chief Amit Shah and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis vowing to snatch Baramati seat from Supriya Sule in the Lok Sabha elections, NCP, it seems, would have a fight up its sleeves this time. But Rashtriya Samaj Paksha, which gave a tough challenge to Sule in the previous elections, has been taken aback by BJP’s “sudden” announcement.
“I heard the announcement by the BJP. I will not comment as of now. Whatever I have to say, I will make it clear at our party rally on February 24,” said Mahadev Jankar, the president of RSP, an alliance partner of the BJP-led Fadnavis government in the state.
Jankar is a minister in the government.
Asked if he was unhappy with the BJP saying that it erred in not contesting the 2014 polls on the lotus symbol, Jankar said: “We have our own identity. Our party has been recognised in four states. We have to do everything possible to strengthen our party.”
He added that his party was not just intending to contest Baramati. “We are seeking to contest six seats across the state. Our supporters have been increasing in the state and therefore, we feel that we should contest at least six seats,” he said.
Jankar hinted that if the BJP was desperate for the Baramati seat, he could exchange the seat with some other seat. “However, this is later, let me first declare our party’s stand on February 24. Things will become clear then,” he said.
Baramati is an important seat for the NCP as Pawar family’s prestige is associated with it. Sule, who is seeking re-election for the third time, refused to attach much importance to BJP’s stand. “Every party has the right to strengthen its base and spread the party’s network. I don’t see anything wrong in this…,” she said.
Asked if she was nervous at the challenge thrown by the BJP, Sule said: “Why should I be? I don’t think about what other parties are doing. I do my work for my constituency… My focus is my constituency and my voters and I don’t bother about what others say.”
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said: “Before talking about snatching the seat, BJP should tell us who will contest against Supriya Sule. Is it PM Modi, Amit Shah or Devendra Fadnavis ?”