WITH THE NCP roping in Marathi actor Amol Kolhe to contest the Lok Sabha election from Shirur, the party may face discontentment from the supporters of former MLA Vilas Lande, who have openly expressed their resentment at the possibility of him being denied a ticket.
The NCP wants to ensure a win in Shirur whose MP is Shiv Sena’s Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil. Earlier this week, at Kolhe’s first-ever rally, Lande’s supporters raised slogans just when NCP leader Ajit Pawar started addressing the rally. They refused to cool down despite requests from Pawar. Finally, Pawar had to warn them that “they will lose” their tickets if they persisted with the sloganeering. The supporters then fell silent, but sloganeering continued, on and off. At a subsequent rally in Manchar, Pawar asked the crowd to raise their hands after he took names of possible candidates. When he took Kolhe’s name, almost everyone raised their hands in support. But when he took Lande’s name, only a few raised their hands. An upset Lande walked off.
When contacted on Saturday, Lande said he was asked to start working in the constituency three months ago by party chief Sharad Pawar. “I have been working relentlessly in the constituency. I have done all the groundwork and exposed how the sitting MP has done little for the voters and the region,” he said.
Lande said he was hopeful of getting the party ticket, but will also abide by the party’s directives. “My supporters are pressing for my ticket. If the party gives me the ticket, I will contest. If I am denied the ticket and party asks me to campaign for another candidate, I will do as per the directives of the party,” he said.
When asked whether his supporters will stay away from the Kolhe campaign, Lande said, “They are upset and agitated because they were working with me for the past three months. I am trying to convince them and am waiting for party directives.” Last week, Kolhe held four rallies and the NCP is confident that he will score a win for them. Lande’s supporters said Kolhe had no connection with the masses.