This is the first time that the Congress in the city interviewed ticket aspirants. As many as 850 aspirants applied for 76 electoral panels and there were many who urged party higher ups to give ticket to common workers but the final list saw relatives of sitting MLAs and corporators. Party senior members justified it saying,Elective merit played the crucial role in the decision.
From 61 seats in 2004 to 35 in 2007,the Congress has seen a major slide in PMC. While expelled party leader and city MP Suresh Kalmadi was released on bail on January 19,the day the Congress started interviewing candidates,Congress higher-ups maintained that Kalmadi will play no role in the poll campaign.
The following days witnessed CM Prithviraj Chavan spearheading Congress rallies. On the last day of the campaign,he visited 35 candidates. Give us single handed power, Chavan had said at the rallies.
The party had released its much-awaited manifesto on February 9. A 25-point programme,the document promises a river navigation project,metro railway,new houses for slum dwellers,a heritage zone,Shiv Srushti in Kothrud,a new medical college,construction of the Sachin Tendulkar International Stadium among others. We are in power at the centre and in the state. Having us at the municipal corporation will ensure easy flow of funds which can translate into progress of the city, CM Chavan said at every rally.
And while the party said its aim was to be the single ruler in PMC,many party insiders gave a different view. For us,the major challenge is NCP. In reality,we are competing for number two position, said a party member on condition of anonymity.
For Pimpri-Chinchwad,Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has promised to clean up all the mess created by the NCP.