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Lok Sabha elections: Rahul Narvekar to take on Shiv Sena man in Maval

The former close aide of Sena youth wing president Aaditya Thackeray is said to be miffed over being asked to withdraw his candidature for the recently held Member of Legislative Council elections

Rahul Narvekar, former spokesperson for both Shiv Sena and Yuva Sena, jumped ship and joined the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). Narvekar was a trusted lieutenant of both Uddhav and Aaditya Thackeray. He will now contest the Lok Sabha elections from Maval constituency. Narvekar is the son-in-law of senior NCP leader Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar.

Rahul Narvekar's exit is said to have upset Shiv Sena youth wing president Aaditya Thackeray, as the former was  said to be close to him
Rahul Narvekar's exit is said to have upset Shiv Sena youth wing president Aaditya Thackeray, as the former was  said to be close to him

“It has upset everyone in the party that he quit just because he didn’t get a seat for the council elections. He forgot the love and respect he got in the party. Aadityasaheb treated him as an elder brother and he’s the most upset with this move,” said a close aide of Narvekar, who is still with the Sena.

Upset over council polls
Narvekar was the tenth candidate for the nine seats of the Maharashtra Legislative Council elections, the Sena’s second candidate along with Neelam Gorhe, in spite of the party knowing that their strength was sufficient to get only one candidate elected. Ever since Narvekar pulled out at the last moment from the elections last week, there were speculations of his quitting the Sena.

Speaking at the NCP headquarters in Nariman Point, he said, “I was the official candidate of the party, but had to fetch votes as an independent. The allegation that the top leaders were kept in the dark when I withdrew my candidature is wrong. I did whatever the party asked me to do (that is, withdraw his name).”

Narvekar will now contest the Maval Lok Sabha seat (see box), where the incumbent is Gajanan Dharamshi Babar, who himself quit the party last week after being denied a ticket. The Sena candidate there now is Shrirang Barne.

“He (Narvekar) got upset that he was asked to leave the seat, not Neelam Gorhe, even though he was close to both the Thackerays. But now, we won’t let him win at any cost,” said another Sena leader. Meanwhile, sources say that Rahul’s brother Makrand, an independent corporator from Colaba, will not be nominated as chairman of any committee in the Sena-ruled BMC. He is currently the chairman of the law committee.

NCP minister's daughter joins BJP
Dr Heena Gavit, daughter of medical education minister Dr Vijaykumar Gavit, will join the party today and contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Nandurbar constituency

The Nationalist Congress Party’s snaring of Rahul Narvekar was soured by one of their own going over to the other side. Dr Heena Gavit, daughter of state medical education minister Dr Vijaykumar Gavit, is all set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party today.

Vijaykumar Gavit, father of Dr Heena Gavit
Vijaykumar Gavit, father of Dr Heena Gavit

Sources from the party said she would be given a Lok Sabha ticket against Union Minister of State for Social Justice Manikrao Gavit, who is seeking a record tenth term from the Congress-dominated Nandurbar constituency.

mid-day had earlier reported that her name had been announced as a BJP candidate, but the latter was quick to hold it back within a few minutes. The development sent NCP leaders in a tizzy; many asked her father for a clarification.

With his daughter joining the BJP, Dr Gavit has been caused a major embarrassment. Speaking at the NCP office on Monday, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said his party would sack Dr Gavit if he also decides to join BJP. But the minister has refuted all such reports and professed his loyalty to his party. “I am loyal to NCP chief Sharad Pawar,” he has said.

His daughter has been active in social work for the last few years and says that BJP leaders can be good candidates to go up against Congress veteran Manikrao Gavit. She is currently doing her post-graduation at Grant Medical College, attached to the JJ Group of hospitals.

50.84%
Vote share of sitting MP in Maval, Gajanan Babar, who contested from Shiv Sena in the 2009 general elections

39.61%
Vote share of the NCP candidate, Azam Pansare, in the 2009 general elections

Know Maval
Maval is one of the two new constituencies in Pune district as part of the delimitation exercise in 2008. It comprises six constituencies Panvel, Uran, Karjat, Maval, Chinchwad, Pimpri. While Shiv Sena’s Rahul Narvekar joined NCP to contest from there, the latter party’s own candidate in the 2009 elections has now joined the Congress.

>> Will contest from the Maval constituency against Sena’s candidate
>> His brother Makrand Narvekar set to lose the chairmanship of BMC’s law committee.
>> Sitting MP Gajanan Babar also quit the Sena a few days ago

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