WITH THE MNS deciding not to contest the Lok Sabha elections and the AAP yet to take a decision on fielding its candidate, Pune looks headed for an unusually straight fight between the Congress and the BJP this time.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, MNS and AAP together had secured over 1.22 lakh votes. BJP’s Anil Shirole had won the elections with a margin of over 3.15 lakh votes, after polling a total of almost 5.7 lakh votes.
In the last elections, MNS had fielded Deepak Paigude from Pune. Paigude had bagged the third position with around 94,000 votes. The party had also secured the third position in the 2009 elections with 76,000 votes. This time, however, the party has decided not to contest the elections. “The decision is a well-thought one by the party leadership,” said city MNS chief Ajay Shinde. Click here for more election news
He added that the MNS’s performance had improved in the previous Lok Sabha election compared to its past performance. “The party candidate got around 94,000 votes despite the political situation that time. The situation has completely changed now and the party was sure to gain from it,” Shinde said.
The city MNS had made preparations for the Lok Sabha elections and the city unit was completely ready for it. “The MNS chief (Raj Thackeray) would soon declare the stand of the party even if there would be no candidate in the fray. We will implement the decision the party leadership takes,” he said, adding that the votes that the MNS had got in previous elections would now play a decisive role in deciding the results of Pune seat.
On the other hand, the AAP is yet to take a decision on whether to contest the Pune seat. In 2014, AAP candidate Subhash Ware had received around 28,000 votes. “A constituency-wise survey report has been sent to the party’s central leadership, which will take a final call. The AAP has recommended the need to contest from ‘urban’ seats like Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur and Nashik. The AAP state committee and central political affairs committee will take a decision in two-three days,” said Mukund Kirdat, AAP spokesperson and Pune city head.
The focus so far has been contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. Hence, a survey was undertaken to reach out to grassroots workers and assess the level of support from the electorate, he said.
Kirdat pointed out that the main opponent in this election is the BJP, which has “destabilised the constitutional base of democracy”. “So, the decisive factor will be whether fielding a candidate will help BJP lose the seats. The central leadership is working on fielding common Opposition candidates but it is not working out yet. If it takes a call on it, then we will have to toe the party line,” Kirdat said.
“In our survey, we found that the middle-class segment has seen AAP’s work in Delhi. In 2014, the party was new and it was not as organised. It was just a movement, but even then we did well. Considering the ‘Modi wave’, that was a good performance for a new party. We have been preparing for this elections (Lok Sabha and Assembly) over the past year. The organisation has been built in all districts,” Kirdat pointed out.