September 25, 2009 3:25:24 am
Unlike in the earlier elections,the threat of wannabe candidates turning rebels in Pune city is all the more acute during this Assembly election as other parties are ready to offer them tickets,even if it means denying their own grassroots candidates a shot at the polls. The flipside is that the rank and file of all parties is upset with the last-minute import of these rebels as their future leaders.
The NCP,MNS,Congress have already imported candidates from other parties notwithstanding the opposition from their own party workers. The NCP on Thursday roped in Anna Joshi,a former BJP MP and senior leader of the saffron party till yesterday,as his seat went to Shiv Sena in the seat sharing arrangement.
The MNS was quick to get disgruntled Congress leader Ramesh Wanjale and make him its official candidate in Khadakwasla. Reason: This seat went to NCP after seat-sharing arrangement.
It is usually difficult for the imported candidates to follow principles of the new party. However,there are many like me who need to take this route as this is the only way to keep political hopes alive when ignored by ones own party, said Wanjale.
Congress was not far behind,in fact it was the first party to start the trend in Pune,when Vinayak Nimhan joined the party just before the Assembly polls,deserting Shiv Sena that was his home for many years. Elected to the Assembly from Shivajinagar on a Shiv Sena ticket in 2004,Nimhan made it to the first list of Congress candidates with the backing of State Revenue Minister Narayan Rane,who too had shifted from Sena to Congress.
A senior NCP leader said the transfer of Joshi from the BJP definitely has not gone down well with the partys grassroots workers. The decision was taken after coming to the conclusion that NCP did not have a strong candidate for the constituency. It is an experiment based on certain calculations of demography, he said. Though the NCP had a few contenders,none was considered strong enough to take on Shiv Senas Chandrakant Mokate.
Similarly,the MNS is taking a calculated risk as Wanjales wife is still a Congress representative in Pune zilla parishad. Wanjale had been preparing for the polls for long and even approached Shiv Sena for the party ticket,but changed his mind after the seat went to the BJP in the seat sharing arrangement. Instead of waiting for a call from the BJP,Wanjale took the offer made by Raj Thackeray-led MNS.
However,not all have proved to be lucky in these poll-vaults. Shirur MLA Baburao Pacharne had quit BJP to join the NCP during the Lok Sabha polls with the Assembly elections in mind. He was denied a ticket by NCP and an upset Pacharne rushed to Baramati with his supporters to meet Ajit Pawar. He still has not filed his candidature.
Congress leader Chandrakant Chhajed who could not make it to the party list is understood to be exploring the possibility of contesting from some other party. He had sought party ticket from Wadgaonsheri Assembly constituency,but once again the seat had gone to the NCP.
In Pune Cantonment Board Assembly constituency,the NCP local unit is upset over the lack of efforts made by party leaders to get the ticket for party in the seat sharing arrangement. The party workers are pressuring the NCP contender and city unit chief Jaideo Gaikwad to contest the polls as an RPI candidate.
* Anna Joshi from BJP has joined NCP
* Ramesh Wanjale from Congress has joined MNS
* Vinayak Nimhan from Shiv Sena has joined Congress
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