Decision 2019: Sena fields Barne again, upsets Jagtap and his supporters in Maharashtrahttps://indianexpress.com/elections/decision-2019-shiv-sena-fields-shrirang-barne-again-upsets-jagtap-and-his-supporters-5639269/

Decision 2019: Sena fields Barne again, upsets Jagtap and his supporters in Maharashtra

2019 Lok Sabha Elections, Maharashtra: Minutes after Shiv Sena renominated Shrirang Barne from Maval constituency, a BJP camp in Pimpri-Chinchwad said “Sena has not applied merit in this case.”

Decision 2019: Sena fields Barne again, upsets Jagtap and his supporters in Maharashtra
Shiv Sena candidate Shrirang Barne and NCP candidate Parth Pawar at the Dehu Temple on the occasion of Tukaram Beej on Friday. (Photo: Rajesh Stephen)

Minutes after Shiv Sena renominated Shrirang Barne from Maval constituency, a BJP camp in Pimpri-Chinchwad said “Sena has not applied merit in this case.”

Along with Barne, Sena, in its first list announced on Friday, also renominated Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil from Shirur for the fourth consecutive time. While Adhalrao’s renomination was a forgone conclusion, Barne’s possible renomination had generated a lot of controversy, with supporters of BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap openly conveying their opposition to his candidature. Earlier this week, Jagtap had skipped a joint meeting of BJP and Sena to convey home the message.

“We had been demanding the seat for the BJP, but it has not worked. The BJP’s strength has grown here manifold and therefore we feel on merit, the seat should have gone to the BJP,” said BJP general secretary Sarang Kamtekar, who belongs to the Jagtap camp. Jagtap refused to comment.

Asked whether he and other supporters of Jagtap would stay away from Barne’s campaigning, Kamtekar said they will campaign for the BJP-Sena alliance. Asked whether Jagtap would share the stage with Barne, Kamtekar said they would work towards “strengthening the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.

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Barne said he was always confident of getting the final nod for his candidature. “Just a few days ago, I had got a call from the party leadership, and they told me that I was a confirmed candidate. I was told that the party survey has revealed that my performance was good and I should carry on with my campaigning,” Barne said.

Asked about the opposition to his candidature, Barne said the high commands of both parties will resolve the matter. “All differences will be sorted out and we will jointly campaign,” he said.

Barne, who had last time defeated Laxman Jagtap by a huge margin of 1.5 lakh votes, will take on Parth Pawar, son of NCP leader Ajit Pawar. “I am not concerned about who my opponent is or what his family background is. I will seek votes on the basis of my performance in the last five years. I was honoured with the best parliamentarian award, which speaks highly of my performance,” said Barne.

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Barne and Parth met at the Dehu temple on Friday, on the occasion of Tukaram Beej. “He smiled at me and I smiled at him,” he said. Barne said he has no reason to be critical of Parth Pawar, who is contesting for the first time. “Rather than attacking Parth, I will prefer to highlight my achievements,” he said.

Adhalrao-Patil, meanwhile, said he had no doubts about being renominated. “I thank my party chief once again for reposing faith in me,” he said.

Asked whether he was, for the first time, facing a stiff challenge in actor Amol Kolhe, who has been fielded by NCP, Adhalrao-Patil said, “Every opponent is a challenge for me”.

Asked about the issues he will bring up to seek votes, Adhalrao-Patil said, “I have been able to start projects worth Rs 13,000 crore in the last five years. This has been my most fruitful tenure.., I am taking them to the voters,” he said.