NCP leaders are too busy campaigning for candidate Supriya Sule in Baramati to have time for Pune,where the Congress is likely to field Suresh Kalmadi. This,in spite of the pledge by party chief Sharad Pawar,Sules father,that the party would support whichever candidate the Congress put up for the Pune Lok Sabha seat.
Local NCP leaders have already started reaching out to voters for Sule who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls for the first time.
On record,NCP leaders still deny that they will give a miss to the campaign for the Congress probable,Kalmadi.
The influence of local NCP leaders would be useful during the Lok Sabha elections. The party is certain to contest Baramati and Shirur, city NCP chief Jaideo Gaikwad said.
Looking at the influence of local NCP leaders,Gaikwad said some NCP leaders want the party to contest Pune,too. The seat-sharing pattern has not been announced and the local NCP unit has urged the leaders to stake claim to Pune Lok Sabha seat.
He said seat-sharing would decide the campaign strategy. The campaign would move into top gear after the seat-sharing is announced, Gaikwad said.
He hastened to add,It does not mean the party leaders would not contribute to campaigning for the Pune Lok Sabha seat if it is contested by the Congress as an alliance candidate. As per the alliance commitment,the party workers would campaign for the Congress.
An NCP leader,however,said campaigning for the Congress wont be that easy. Our main opponent in the 2007 civic polls was the Congress. The party had targeted Kalmadis leadership then and it would not be easy for us to seek votes for the same person during the Lok Sabha polls, the NCP corporator said.
Therefore,to save themselves from the embarrassment,some NCP leaders have decided to campaign for the party candidate in the adjoining Lok Sabha constituencies. There is no need of a campaign for the NCP chief if he decides to contest the Lok Sabha polls,but the local party leaders see an opportunity to get close to the NCP chief by campaigning for Sule, he added.
The corporator said a few NCP corporators have been saved of embarrassment as their wards in fringe parts of the city like Hadapsar,Sinhagad Road,Warje and Katraj fall either in Shirur or Baramati.
City Congress chief Abhay Chhajed said,We are hopeful that local NCP leaders will also campaign for the Congress candidate in Pune and if need be,we will also campaign for the NCP candidates, he said.