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Sena gets going in Maval,NCP dithers

The Shiv Sena is fielding two-time Haveli MLA Gajanan Babar from Maval Lok Sabha constituency.

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune | Published: March 28, 2009 1:32:34 pm

Two-time MLA Gajanan Babar is Sena candidate; in NCP,it’s advantage Jagtap

The Shiv Sena is fielding two-time Haveli MLA Gajanan Babar from Maval Lok Sabha constituency. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on the other hand,which has been dithering on naming its Maval candidate,is likely to field either its Pimpri-Chinchwad president Azam Pansare or MLC Laxman Jagtap from the constituency.

Pansare,who was the frontrunner in the ticket race till last week,is now locked in a battle with Jagtap for the NCP ticket. Babar’s name was announced by Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai on Friday,said Sena leader Neelam Gorhe. Babar’s candidature has come as a relief to the local Shiv Sainiks who were agitated after Congress leader Shrirang Barne was tipped to be the Sena candidate from Maval.

The Sainiks had sent thousands of SMSes to Uddhav,opposing the reported move to field Barne. “There is relief now. There is a great responsibility as well,” said Sena’s district deputy chief Sarang Kamthekar.

Kamthekar said everything is ready for the campaigning and it was just the question of mobilising resources now. “We were waiting for the announcement. Now,we will launch a full-fledged campaign. Babar’s victory is a foregone conclusion,” he claimed.

Shiv Sena’s Pimpri-Chinchwad chief Bhagwan Walhekar said the party workers were all geared up for the election. “It will be a rich versus poor fight.” Walhekar said the party was well-placed in all the six talukas of Maval,and will win comfortably. “The BJP,the Shiv Sena and the Shetkari Kamgar Paksha,which are in alliance,have their MLAs in Maval,Karjat,Khanapur and Alibaug. In Pimpri-Chinchwad,the candidates of ally BJP had always put up a creditable performance in all the past Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

Babar said,“My main election issues will be water and power. I am opposing the PCMC’s closed pipeline scheme that entails lifting of water from the dam.”

The NCP had been awaiting the announcement of the Sena candidate for naming its candidate. District Guardian Minister Ajit Pawar had on Thursday said that the party’s Maval candidate will be from Pimpri-Chinchwad. Either Pansare or Jagtap will be the candidate. The name of Prashat Thakur,a prominent Congress leader from Raigad,had been doing the rounds,but his chances seem to have now thinned out.

The Pansare camp,which had already begun campaigning after meeting NCP supremo Sharad Pawar last month,has asked PCMC corporators owing allegiance to it to resign if Pansare is not given the ticket.

This was after it emerged that Jagtap may get the NCP ticket. Party leaders believe Jagtap’s name has been finalised and only a formal announcement remains,which is likely on Saturday. NCP workers are opposed to Thakur as their candidate.

Some NCP leaders said that Jagtap had proved his mettle during the legislative council elections four years back. Besides,he’s a “goanwalla” (son-of-the soil) who is likely to get mass support. “ On the other hand,Pansare had lost to Babar 10 years ago in the Assembly elections. Now since Babar has been fielded by the Sena,the NCP will go for Jagtap who knows the winning mantra,” an NCP leader said.

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