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NCP vs NCP: MLA takes on official nominee

For the NCP brass,sitting MLA from Haveli Vilas Lande was the blue-eyed boy in April as he was chosen to contest Shirur Lok Sabha constituency against sitting Shiv Sena MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil.

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune |
October 2, 2009 11:43:18 pm

For the NCP brass,sitting MLA from Haveli Vilas Lande was the blue-eyed boy in April as he was chosen to contest Shirur Lok Sabha constituency against sitting Shiv Sena MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil. Having lost that fight,Lande has been denied party ticket for the Assembly polls.

Haveli is now divided between Pimpri,Chinchwad and Bhosari Assembly segments post delimitation and NCP deemed it fit to ease him out. Lande,however,thinks he is a better candidate than Mangala Kadam,the NCP’s official candidate,and is taking her on. But Shiv Sena’s Sulbha Ubale believes she has an edge as the two NCP leaders are likely to eat into each other’s votes.

Significantly,Lande’s act of defiance has not led to an automatic ouster for him from the party unlike in the case of many other rebels. Lande is also playing it safe by not resigning from the party.

An NCP leader said,“Lande is playing safe by not quitting the party even after taking on the official candidates and is keeping his options. The party has not taken any action against him,indicating that the party does not want to lose him in case he gets elected,” the leader said.

Lande feels aggrieved that his willingness to take on Adhalrao-Patil in the last minute as a replacement for party chief Sharad Pawar who opted out for Madha against Shirur,has not been appreciated. “I have the support of many NCP corporators and party cadre. I have nurtured the constituency in last five years and it was improper for the party to ignore me,” Lande said.

However,Mangala Kadam is confident that she would be able to retain the party seat. “It is time for newcomers to make their mark and I am prepared,” she said.

The NCP has control in Bhosari with 19 corporators in the PCMC. Kadam said the Congress has two corporators in the area while the saffron combine has merely five corporators and this will reflect in the Assembly polls more than in the Lok Sabha elections.

Ubale hopes to spoil the NCP party. “I am going to gain with an NCP rebel taking on its own official candidate,” she said,adding that the saffron combine would not rely on NCP infighting for success as Sena candidate in the LS polls Adhalrao-Patil had a lead of 27,000 votes in Bhosari.

According to her,the fence-sitting attitude pursued by Lande and even the NCP is too apparent to the electorate. Lande’s wife Mohini is an NCP corporator in PCMC and he is banking on the NCP corporators and cadres to deliver the goods.

Lande said he will decide after the results of the poll whether to continue in the party or not. This is not the first time that Lande is taking a stand against the NCP. In 2002,he had stood and won as an Independent corporator in the PCMC after the NCP had denied him a ticket. He started his political career as an Independent corporator in PCMC in 1992. The next year he was made the mayor of PCMC for a year. He got re-elected in PCMC for Congress in 1997. He joined the NCP in 1999.

“Time and again I have proved that NCP ignores me at its cost. I will bounce back as in the past,” Lande said.

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