While Pune Lok Sabha constituency remains uncharted terrain for Congress and BJP with respect to the Lok Sabha polls, as neither party has declared candidates, things are becoming more and more interesting in adjacent Maval with every passing day. On Monday, Shiv Sena spokesperson Rahul Narvekar joined Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar announced the former’s candidature from the constituency.
With Narvekar’s move to NCP, Maval finds itself in a peculiar position, where both Sena and NCP are facing rebel candidates. Recently, sitting NCP MLA Laxman Jagtap quit the party, and declared that he would contest the LS election on a ticket of Shetkari Kamgar Paksha (SKP).
So, Maval constituency will see a four-way battle between NCP’s Rahul Narvekar, Sena’s Shrirang Barne, SKP’s Laxman Jagtap and AAP’s Maruti Bhapkar. Sitting Sena MP Gajanan Babar from Maval, who left the party on March 12, after Uddhav Thackeray gave the ticket to Barne, is yet to decide whether he will enter in this race or not. However, according to sources, Babar will not participate in the Lok Sabha elections.
Hop, skip and jump: Shiv Sena youth leader Rahul Narvekar joins NCP, flanked by deputy CM Ajit Pawar in Mumbai yesterday. Pic/PTI
“NCP’s move to field Narvekar against me hardly matters. Narvekar is an outsider, and no one knows him in Maval. Actually, it is nothing but NCP’s ploy to field a proxy candidate against me, as ultimately they are going to support Jagtap despite his having quit the party.”
When contacted, Jagtap refuted all these allegations. “I am contesting the polls on the ticket of Shetkari Kamgar Paksha. This itself makes it clear that I am no longer associated with NCP. I am confident that I will win the election by the margin of 1.5 lakh votes.”
Interestingly, AAP is the only party that remains unaffected by the changing political equations. Its Maval candidate Maruti Bhapkar has already started his campaign and is using various innovative ways to reach the voters.
“For the past several days, voters in Maval are witnessing this political tamasha. People are fed up of this baseless dirty politics. Voters will definitely settle the scores by electing me,” Bhapkar claimed.
While commenting on Narvekar’s exit, Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said, “Narvekar is citing the recent MLC elections as reason for quitting the party. He was completely aware oft the happenings. He would have been in touch with NCP leaders over the past several days.”
Total no of voters in Maval