The Pune Vikas Aghadi (PVA) is back after 12 years and tainted city MP Suresh Kalmadi's opponents are alleging he has himself made this happen from inside Tihar jail in Delhi. Kalmadi, a three-time Lok Sabha MP, had been elected for the first time to the Lok Sabha from the city. He had floated the PVA when he was denied a ticket in 1998 by the Congress.
New and old chiefs: PVA chief Chandan Sondkar
The PVA at the time received the backing of the BJP and the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had also held a campaign meeting in the city for it. Though Kalmadi lost the 1998 poll, his association with top BJP leader Pramod Mahajan resulted in a Rajya Sabha seat for him.
Suresh Kalmadi, who had formed the original PVA after being denied a
PMC, PCPM polls
Now, the new PVA is contesting both the PMC and the PCMC elections. The party is also spreading its base in the district from Shirur. Janata Dal United (JDU) state president Rajesh Jagtap said it was not a coincidence that PVA had once again come into existence.
"The whole world knows that PVA is Kalmadi's baby and he himself contested the election in 1998 on behalf of the PVA but lost. Yes, Kalmadi must be running the same party once again unofficially," he said. JDU state general secretary Vishal Ghadge said there was a strong suspicion in everybody's mind that Kalmadi was involved in the whole affair of the revival of the PVA.
"Everybody knows that the Congress suspended him from the party when he was arrested for the Commonwealth Games scam eight months ago," he said. PVA president Chandan Sondkar, who recently registered the PVA with the Election Commission, challenged the JDU to prove its charges.
"Prove the allegation otherwise take back your words, because it is easy to make such charges," he said. Sondkar was earlier with Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and also worked as a spokesperson of the party. "I know Kalmadi, but Kalmadi does not know me. We had an alliance with the PVA even to campaign for Kalmadi's candidates but I was never been associated with Kalmadi's PVA in those days," he said.
Sondkar said the new PVA has been established to provide a forum for discussing social issues on top priority and contesting the election has always been secondary for the PVA. "My party is open for qualified people who are ignored by their respective parties," he said. Sondkar said he himself was not going to contest the upcoming PMC election. He said his home ward, Number 8 in Baner, had been converted into an OBC ward. "I prefer to stand strongly behind the candidates for campaigning," he said.