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Pune pattern set to haunt Congress-NCP

The ghost of the 30-month-old alliance that the NCP struck with the saffron combine in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) in April 2007...

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune |
September 24, 2009 3:40:58 am

The ghost of the 30-month-old alliance that the NCP struck with the saffron combine in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) in April 2007 and called Pune Pattern has begun to haunt the NCP-Congress alliance. With barely three days left for filing nominations for assembly polls,many leaders of the NCP and the Congress are finding it hard to stomach the differences that were all too open till only a month ago.

The NCP had continued to hold truck with the BJP-Shiv Sena in the PMC even during the Lok Sabha polls and the rift had come to the fore in all four constituencies of the district. The NCP got a beating in Shirur and Maval while retaining its stronghold Baramati as the Congress struggled in Pune. The situation is not expected to be hugely different now.

“I have learnt that a few of our party leaders are planning to contest elections on their own as the seat sharing has not been to their liking,” city NCP chief Jaideo Gaikwad. However,he said no leader would be allowed to contest as a rebel. “If that takes place we will urge the particular member to withdraw from the fray; and if the directives are not followed they will be expelled from the party.”

A Congress leader said it was the duty of the respective party leaders to keep a check on possible rebellion. “The workers are bound to get disappointed if their leader does not get the ticket,but it is the duty of respective party to stop anti-alliance activities.”

With differences between the alliance partners lasting for a good two-and-a-half years,the signs of rebellion in the two camps against official candidates seems unavoidable. As information trickled in that the Shivajinagar constituency will be contested by the Congress — Vinayak Nimhan,till the other day a Shiv Sena leader — local NCP corporator Balasaheb Bodke held a meeting with his supporters to decide whether to contest as an independent candidate. Bodke is a close associate of city NCP executive president Anil Bhosale who had sought the party ticket from the constituency.

In Vadgaonsheri,sitting Congress MLA Chandrakant Chhajed had to eat the humble pie as the seat has gone to the NCP and corporator Bapu Pathare is the likely candidate. The Congress was eyeing the Parvati seat with both city Congress chief Abhay Chhajed and Congress leader in PMC Ulhas Bagul in the race for the seat. Both of them are now unsure of making it as they did not figure in the first list.

The Pune Cantonment seat is said to be a Congress bastion for long and the party had proved it again in the Pune Cantonment Board elections last year — but the Congress had defeated the NCP in those elections. Ramesh Bagwe of the Congress is set to contest now; and among the contenders was city NCP chief Gaikwad.

Kasba Peth will see the Congress field Rohit Tilak,a direct descendant of Lokmanya Tilak. Here too,the NCP was in the picture as its spokesperson Ankush Kakade was nurturing hopes of a seat. In Kothrud,Deepak Mankar has decided to enter the fray as an independent.

The Congress has got Hadapsar,where it is set to accommodate sitting MLA Balasaheb Shivarkar,but is likely to face problems as the NCP has considerable clout in the region. In Khadakwasla,former Congress leader Ramesh Wanjale is contesting the poll on the MNS ticket.

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