Updated: October 25, 2021 8:19:19 am
AHEAD of the civic elections slated for February 2022, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and his family seems to be going all out to re-capture the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), from which it was ousted in 2017 elections by the BJP.
Leading from the front is Sharad Pawar himself who, despite his ailing health, camped in Pimpri-Chinchwad and interacted with corporators, former corporators, senior leaders and ordinary workers. Firing a salvo at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he accused two of its MLAs “of distributing Pimpri-Chinchwad among themselves and looting the civic body.”
Former NCP corporator Kiran Mote said, “During our meeting with our party chief, I complained to him about the deficiencies in the party and how it needed to take everyone together if we have to win back PCMC.”
Mote caused a stir last week when he said that the NCP chief’s grand nephew Parth Pawar lost out in 2019 general elections due to “politics of relatives played out by some NCP politicians”. “Pawarsaheb listened to our grievances patiently,” he said.
Sharad Pawar urged party workers to put in all their might to dislodge BJP from the PCMC, NCP leaders said. “Our party chief was vocal about the corruption in PCMC,” Sanjog Waghere from NCP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit told The Indian Express.
For his part, Parth Pawar has also been monitoring the developments in Pimpri-Chinchwad and is regularly visiting the industrial city for public functions and interacting with party leaders. Last week, he tweeted that NCP needed to get rid of “the corrupt party” in Pimpri-Chinchwad. “He had also met Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil on a couple of occasions and told him to take up the development works suggested by NCP corporators,” said corporator Shyam Lande.
“I have received some complaints regarding the municipal commissioner. I have already informed the Deputy Chief Minister (Ajit Pawar) about them,” he said.
When asked if he would be leading NCP’s poll campaign in Pimpri-Chinchwad, Parth refused to comment.
Ajit Pawar, who is busy with state affairs, has posted two of his assistants in Pimpri-Chinchwad. “Both of them come once a week, take complaints and feedback and pass them on to Ajitdada,” said NCP leader Yogesh Behl, former mayor of Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Behl, considered as the right hand man of Ajit Pawar, said, “It is true that our party chief Sharad Pawar, Ajitdada and Parth are putting in their best efforts to motivate, encourage and infuse life into the party set-up in our bid to regain power in Pimpri-Chinchwad. The NCP has got a head start with the recent visit of our party chief Sharad Pawar.”
NCP leaders said Rohit Pawar, another grandnephew of Sharad Pawar, is also monitoring the happenings in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Besides the Pawar family, Shrirur Parliamentarian Amol Kolhe was also seen witnessing the civic general body meeting from the visitor’s gallery — a rare sight, especially since MLAs and MPs generally shy away from witnessing PCMC meetings. “Kolhe was especially deputed by our party leadership to keep close watch on the PCMC functioning so as to expose the BJP rule during the campaigning period,” an NCP leader said.
Kolhe said the allegations of corruption in Smart City works in PCMC seems to hold ground as they had come from none other than BJP corporators themselves.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, said the Pawars were no threat to their rule in Pimpri-Chinchwad. State BJP chief Chandrakant Patil, who visited the industrial city, said, “The fact that NCP chief Sharad Pawar is himself taking interest in Pimpri-Chinchwad shows how well placed and strong the BJP is in PCMC…but let me tell you that despite all these efforts, they will find it difficult to defeat the BJP.”
NCP had ruled Pimpri-Chinchwad for 15 years ever since the civic body’s formation in 1999. Since the loss in 2017, Ajit Pawar has been keeping close watch on Pimpri-Chinchwad, NCP leaders said.
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