Two days before break-up, BJP told some candidates to 'be prepared'

The party top brass had apparently hinted at the split, which, along with the Congress-NCP break-up and MNS’ presence, will cause a five-way fight

Hours after the BJP-Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP alliances announced their break-up, several willing candidates from these four major political parties had started preparations for filing their nominations on Friday.

Shiv Sena and BJP party offices
After the alliance fell apart, both the Shiv Sena and BJP party offices in the city bore a deserted look. Pic/Dattatraya Adhalge

What’s interesting is, it appears that two days before the break-up, some willing BJP candidates who want to contest from traditional Sena seats, had received clear messages from the top brass to “be prepared”.

The eight assembly constituencies in Pune city and three in Pimpri-Chinchwad will now witness a five-way fight (with candidates from the four main former alliance partners and MNS), upsetting political equations in all seats which were supposedly strongholds of the political bigwigs.

The scene for BJP
Medha Kulkarni, BJP state secretary and PMC corporator, one of the candidates who got the hint from the top brass, is all set to submit her candidature from Kothrud today.

“Two days ago, I got a message from party leaders telling me to be prepared. I am filling my nomination from Kothrud,” Kulkarni said.

Until now, the Kothrud seat had always been with the Sena, but because of the new political equation, sitting Sena MLA Chandrakant Mokate will now face challenges from both the BJP and MNS. The MNS had already declared candidature to corporator Kishor Shinde, who gave a tough fight last time to Mokate.

A sitting BJP MLA who did not want to be identified said, “A couple of days before, it had become clear that there is no future for the BJP-Sena alliance, and we would have to contest the upcoming elections without the Sena.”

The MLA added, “I also got inputs from the top brass that PM Narendra Modi will now aggressively concentrate on the election campaign and he is going to increase his rallies in the state from four to 14.”

According to confirmed sources, the BJP have almost finalised the name of corporator Yogesh Tilekar for the Hadapsar seat, which has, till now, remained with the Sena. With this move the BJP will create a challenge for sitting Sena MLA Mahadev Babar.

“The party’s city unit had already received a message to be ready to contest the elections without Sena. Rather, our preliminary preparations are already over. We are confident that the party will repeat its Lok Sabha success story,” said one of its office bearers.

Shiv Sena views
Shiv Sena group leader in the PMC, Ashok Harnawal, who was all set to go to Mumbai to meet Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, said, “Besides me, there are two other Sena leaders, Balasaheb Oswal and Shrikant Pujari, who want to contest from the Parvati assembly constituency.” But, he added that Thackeray would take the final call on this.

NCP corporator Chetan Tupe, who is willing to contest from Hadapsar, which till now belonged to the Congress in seat-sharing said, “In this constituency, out of 22 corporators, 11 are from NCP and only four are from Congress. Hence, I had put in my claim on Hadapsar much before today’s political development.”

Besides this, NCP also has strong willing candidates for constituencies like Shivaji Nagar and Cantonment, which have been traditional vote banks for Congress. In Shivaji Nagar, the NCP has options like MLC Anil Bhosale, former PMC standing committee chairman Nilesh Nikam, and Shrikant Patil to pit against sitting Congress MLA Vinayak Nimhan. From Cantonment, NCP has almost decided on senior leader Jaydev Gaikwad, who will contest against the sitting Congress MLA Ramesh Bagwe.

In Kasba constituency, which is currently with the Congress, at least two NCP corporators — Ravindra Malvadkar and Udaykant Andekar — are willing to contest. Congress on Wednesday declared candidature to Rohit Tilak. Parvati constituency will also witness a tough fight between Congress city president Abhay Chajed, NCP leader Subhash Jagtap and BJP’s sitting MLA Madhuri Misal. Chajed confirmed that with the new political equations, he and NCP’s Jagtap would fight each other.

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