BY: MANOJ MORE
The battle for Maval seat is heating up by the day with candidates going all out to make inroads into the votebank of their rivals. On Wednesday, it exemplified once again as three Laxman Jagtaps and two Shrirang Barnes popped up in the list of 26 candidates who filed nomination papers on the last day. The idea, said political analysts, is to confuse people so that votes of official candidates are divided.
Laxman Pandurang Jagtap is the official candidate of Peasants and Workers Party and is supported by the Raj Thackeray-led MNS. The other two Jagtaps who have filed nominations are Laxman Murlidhar Jagtap (independent) and Laxman Sitaram Jagtap (independent).
Both Jagtap and Barne have been relentless in their attack against each other. Jagtap alleged that the two other Jagtaps have been forced to file nominations by Barne. “I have information that the two Jagtaps are Barne’s men. They are often seen with Barne,” said Jagtap.
However, Barne said he has no clue about the two Jagtaps. “But I am sure the other Barne has been forced to file nomination by my rival who fears my presence,” he said.
Jagtap said everybody knows how difficult it is to contest against me. “My rivals are doing their best to make inroads into my votebank. No matter what they do, they will not succeed,” said Jagtap.
Tanaji Shinde, returning officer for Maval, said it was a fact that three Jagtaps and two Barnes have filed nominations. “The picture will be clear on March 29, which is the last day for the withdrawal of nominations,” he said.
Political analyst Sarang Kamtekar said this is common in every election as the purpose is to confuse voters. “The purpose is clearly to confuse voters about the identity of real candidate. In 2009, two Vilas Landes were in fray in Shirur constituency. I remember the unofficial Vilas Lande secured 16,000 votes. This means, the official candidate who could have got these votes suffered,” he said.
Kamtekar said though Jagtap is contesting as PWP candidate, he is actually an independent as the PWP do not have recognition as a party.
“PWP is a registered political party and not a recognised party. So, Jagtap will not get a reserved symbol. He will have to do with whatever symbol he gets from the election commission,” he said.
He added, “Jagtap will have to fight with other two Jagtaps to get the symbol. He might not get the symbol which he is looking for. It might go to other Jagtap. This is how candidates try to undo their rivals.”
“In this elections, if other two Jagtaps remain in the fray, the official candidate might suffer. It is difficult to say to what extent as Jagtap is a popular figure in Maval,” he said.
NCP Pimpri-Chinchwad unit chief Yogesh Behl said his party had no hand in three Jagtaps and two Barnes filing nominations. “I think both Jagtap and Barne are getting back at each other. NCP is away from this sort of politics,” he said.
It is widely believed that the real battle in Maval will be between Jagtap and Barne, who are traditional rivals. Both have been preparing for this contest for over two years now. In fact, Jagtap had openly said that he would only contest elections if Barne was in the fray.
Shiv Sena sources said Barne wanted to deprive Jagtap of a chance to contest as he had approached NCP chief Sharad Pawar for a ticket, but to no avail.