The pre-poll alliance between the Shiv Sena and BJP has led to disappointments on both sides in the industrial township of Pimpri-Chinchwad. After Chinchwad MLA Laxman Jagtap, it is supporters of Bhosari MLA and BJP leader Mahesh Landge who have voiced their disappointment.
Landge had sought the Shirur Lok Sabha seat for the BJP, but as the constituency is currently represented by Shiv Sena MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil, his chances of contesting for the seat appear to be slim.
After defeating NCP strongman Vilas Lande in the 2014 Assembly polls, Landge had set his eyes on the Shirur seat. The Bhosari MLA had not only started a reach-out initiative across the constituency, but he had also started campaigning on issues like lifting the ban on bullock cart racing to strike a chord with local farmers. Landge’s supporters claimed they were given the green signal to contest by the BJP high command, when the possibility of an alliance with the Shiv Sena still had a question mark.
Sources close to Landge said the MLA has requested Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to seek this seat from the Shiv Sena in exchange for another one from the BJP.
The Shirur Lok Sabha seat comprises Bhosari, Hadapsar, Junnar, Ambegaon, Khed and Shirur Assembly constituencies. At present, Bhosari and Shirur are represented by BJP MLAs. While NCP senior leader and former Assembly speaker Dilip Walse Patil represents Ambegaon assembly, Junnar is represented by the lone MNS MLA Sharad Sonawane in the Assembly.
Landge, a former NCP leader, had fought the last elections as an independent candidate. He then joined the BJP and played a crucial role in the 2017 Lok Sabha election,
which subsequently helped the party wrestle the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation from the NCP.
Since 2017, speculation has been rife that Landge would be accommodated in the state cabinet, but that never worked out. Sources close to him said they were disappointed about this but they were able to accommodate their supporters in terms of tickets for corporatorship as well as positions in the civic body. “This would not have been possible if he had remained with NCP,” said a supporter of the MLA.
“The chief minister has said the final talk on seat-sharing would happen over the weekend. During the course of the meeting, the BJP would be asking for those seats in which they feel the Shiv Sena is on a weak wicket. We hope that during such talks, the Shirur seat would come to us,” said a source.