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Political parties in race for rally spots

With many public places in the city like road junctions out of bounds for political rallies due to strictures from the Election Commission...

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune |
September 13, 2009 11:32:27 pm

With many public places in the city like road junctions out of bounds for political rallies due to strictures from the Election Commission,political parties are busy trying to book school and college grounds and stadiums for their Assembly campaign.

The restrictions on use of public places for rallies,put in place recently,prevent political parties from using some of their favourite rally spots like the road in front of Alka Theatre,Sarasbaug and other junctions on Bajirao Road.

Pune Municipal Corporation,Estate Officer,Sudhakar Telang confirmed that the EC had put such restrictions.

The spots parties are looking for include the grounds of New English School in Ramanbaug,Shahu College ground in Parvati,Arunkumar Vaidya stadium in Nana Peth,S P College ground in Sadashiv Peth,SSPMS ground in Shivajinagar and the area on the river banks.

“Few days are left for the polls and all political parties are in a rush to book these locations to reach out to maximum voters,” MNS leader Ravindra Dhangekar said. He added that his party was not taking any chances and had already started seeking permission for locations the party has identified.

Many parties like the BJP are also looking at low-capacity locations,as against high-capacity ones they had opted for during the Lok Sabha polls. For instance,BJP Pune city chief Girish Bapat said his party has decided to hold only small rallies in the segments from where its candidates will contest.

“We have prepared a plan for the election campaign with special focus on public rallies. The city unit is awaiting the decision of seat-sharing between the Shiv Sena and BJP so that locations that fall in the assembly segment concerned can be booked for rallies,” he said. Bapat refused to disclose the locations saying if he reveals them now other political parties may book them to create hurdles in the BJP campaign. NCP city unit spokesperson Ankush Kakade said his party had requested the district administration to make more locations available for public rallies during the elections.

“There is a ban on use of government land,but grounds owned by educational institutions can definitely be used for the election campaign,” he said adding that availability of a few locations in each Assembly segment will help the political parties in holding public rallies.

“There have been requests from various parties on making available some civic land that can be used for rallies. The issue will be discussed in the meeting called by the election officer on Friday,” said Telang.

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