Realising that it’s now or never in politics, sitting PMC corporators who aspire to take a plunge in state politics by contesting the Assembly elections are giving a tough time to sitting legislators by seeking party tickets.
Of the eight Assembly seats in the city, three are represented by BJP legislators, two each by the Shiv Sena and the Congress while one is with the NCP. Incidentally, five of the eight legislators had been corporators in the PMC in the past.
From the Kasba Assembly segment in the heart of the city, two BJP corporators Ganesh Bidkar and Hemant Rasane have stake claimed to the party ticket, posing a challenge to sitting legislator Girish Bapat.
MNS corporator Ravindra Dhangekar, who lost the previous election by a small margin, is ready to make a second attempt to make it to the Assembly. From the Congress, corporator Deepak Mankar is seeking an Assembly ticket. He had contested the previous election as Independent from Kothrud Assembly segment.
Sitting Shiv Sena legislator Chandrakant Mokate is facing a challenge from two aspirants in the party, Shyam Deshpande and Prithviraj Sutar. In the NCP, corporator Baburao Chandere has been preparing to contest the Assembly elections from this seat for the last one year. MNS too has sitting corporator Kishore Shinde looking to contest the Assembly elections after finishing second in the previous election.
A fierce contest is being witnessed for the seat, which is with Congress legislator Vinayak Nimhan at present. Congress corporator Datta Bahirat has staked claim to the party ticket, besides former mayor Dattatraya Gaikwad and Chandrakant Chhajed.
“I am ready for Assembly elections and if the party does not give me ticket, I would be open to exploring support of other political parties,” said Bahirat. Looking for a Congress rebel to field from Shivajinagar, to pose a challenge to the sitting legislator, the BJP too is facing opposition from leaders within the party.
Sitting NCP legislator Bapu Pathare is being challenged by his party corporator Bapu Karne. The RPI(A), which is part of the mega alliance led by the BJP and the Shiv Sena, has sought the seat for itself, with its corporator Siddarth Dhende ready to contest the elections.
NCP corporator Chetan Tupe is seeking party ticket to take on sitting Sena legislator Mahadev Babar. With part of the Assembly segment comprising rural areas, there are more rural aspirants than urban for the seat.
The Assembly segment has BJP corporator Srinath Bhimale posing challenge to sitting BJP legislator Madhuri Misal. NCP corporator Subhash Jagtap too wants to try his luck from the seat and poses a tough challenge to Misal who had a smooth ride last time.
With seat-sharing talks with the NCP under way, the Congress wants Parvati in its kitty this time, with corporators Kamal Vyavhare, Abhay Chhajed and Ulhas Bagul preparing to contest if the NCP agrees to part with it.
MNS corporator Vasant More and NCP corporator Dilip Barate are working hard to get the party ticket against sitting BJP legislator Bhimrao Tapkir. “I am ready to contest from Khadakwasla if the party says so,” said NCP corporator Vikas Dangat, who had lost in the previous Assembly election.
The RPI(A) is trying to pose a challenge to sitting Congress legislator Ramesh Bagawe. The Sena-BJP alliance does not have a strong candidate for the Assembly seat.