NCP manages to get Wanjale widow on board for bypoll

Wife of deceased MNS politician to contest by-election in Khadakwasla assembly seat on NCP ticket; Raj Thackeray's party decides against fielding any candidate

The NCP has emerged the victor in the race to woo 'gold man' Ramesh Wanjale's widow for the Khadakwasla bypolls. Though her husband was an MNS MLA, Harshada Wanjale will now contest the by-election on an NCP ticket.

Party hopping: Harshada Wanjale, currently an elected ZP member
from the Congress, is set to join the Nationalist Congress Party today
in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Despite not being happy with the decision and expressly stating it, Raj Thackeray, MNS president, said his party had decided to stay away from the by-elections. "We don't want to enter into strange politics. Not contesting against the widow of Wanjale for the Khadakwasala constituency is our humble gesture to pay tribute to the late leader who died three months ago," said Thackeray.

Anil Shidore, general secretary, MNS, Pune said, "Our leader might not like the idea, and therefore, we decided to leave the constituency vacant." Harshada Wanjale will join the NCP officially in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar today.

Ramesh Wanjale contested the 2009 state assembly elections as an MNS candidate, but he died in June this year. The local MNS party workers were expecting that Harshada would contest the election on MNS ticket. Her victory is also said to be guaranteed, as she is expected to get maximum sympathy votes. Many political parties were reportedly wooing her by offering attractive benefits. Currently, Harshada is an elected member of the Zilla Parishad from the Congress party.

Resentment in NCP
There is strong unrest in the NCP camp at Khadakwasala. Dilip Barate, Shivaji Aadhav and Viththal Gosavi have taken the candidate nomination from the Haveli Tehsil office on Tuesday. Khadakwasala was considered to be an NCP stronghold and an assured seat for the party, before Wanjale won in 2009. Barate, Aadhave and Gosavi are not happy with the NCP high command for giving the ticket to Harshada, said a senior NCP leader on condition of anonymity.

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