The announcement of Assembly polls in five states has come as a dampner on the expectations that cantonment board elections will happen in December. But this unlikely to fizzle out the momentum of the cantonment boards that are already in poll mode. The probable date of cantonment elections remains uncertain. However,the zest with which parties are gearing up in all three cantonments of Pune,Khadki and Dehu Road,it seems an exciting election battle is in store.
Of the three cantonments,Pune area seems to be in topgear. Here the political parties have raised the pitched to woo the electorate in their own way. In 2008,when the last cantonment elections took place,Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) was just a two-year-old party. Though it fielded candidates in all the eight wards,the party lost all seats,though it managed to gain second position in three wards.
Five years on,the MNS is hopeful that the party would carve a place in this predominantly non-Marathi locality. Over the past five years,our party workers have taken up issues that concern common man be it traffic,drainage,water or road conditions, said Balasaheb Shedge,city unit chief of MNS. The party,which has been organising meetings of the corporators of Pune city to take decisions on the cantonment tickets,had opposed the reservation of SC ward,which has been repeatedly awarded to ward number four of PCB.
The present composition of PCB includes seven members of the Congress and one of their central and state allies,NCP. But many feel that the Congress domination may decline.
While some cite the not-so-active role of city MP Suresh Kalmadi along with the controversies surrounding him,others cite anti-incumbency against the central government as the reason. Kalmadi,who played an active role in cantonment politics till about 2010,has not been seen doing so. In 2010,it was Kalmadi who made the then vice-president Sangeeta Pawar step down. The promise to increase cantonment Floor Space Index (FSI) to two or to construct sports complex at Golibar Maidan was made by Kalmadi in 2008. Both these promises remain unfulfilled.
We have been following up the FSI matter with the Ministry of Defence and passed the resolution. We have also been requesting subsequent GOC-in-Cs,but to no avail. All the promises we made have been fulfilled,including water,electricity except for flyover. In PCB,there is no chance for BJP- Sena or MNS, said Karan Makwani,Congress member and PCB elected representative.
The BJP however is convinced that the Modi factor will come to their rescue. Sashidhar Puram,president,BJP Camp wing said,In 2008,we would hardly find candidate to contest polls. But today,we are getting a good response,thanks to the Modi factor. The incumbent board of Congress- NCP members has disappointed people by not providing roads,hospitals,traffic solutions besides others. We are sure of victory in the next PCB elections.