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Exclusive | Lok Sabha elections 2024: ‘People in Satara are against the BJP and Mahayuti’

Updated on: 02 May,2024 07:25 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Ranjeet Jadhav |

NCP Sharad Pawar candidate Shashikant Shinde tells mid-day about his vision; says govt machinery being used to target people

Exclusive | Lok Sabha elections 2024: ‘People in Satara are against the BJP and Mahayuti’

NCP (Sharad Pawar) candidate Sashikant Shinde during a rally in Saigaon village. Pic/Anurag Ahire

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Exclusive | Lok Sabha elections 2024: ‘People in Satara are against the BJP and Mahayuti’

Candidates in the Satara Lok Sabha constituency have been campaigning hard. NCP Sharad Pawar faction candidate Shashikant Shinde starts his day early, visiting villages and interacting with the locals, especially the women and young voters.

A close confidant of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shashikant is a former APMC director and is currently the working president of Maharashtra Rajya Mathadi, Transport and General Kamgar Union. In the past, he has been elected MLA two times each from Jaoli and Koregaon. In 2019, Shashikant was defeated by Shiv Sena candidate Mahesh Shinde, but he was nominated to the legislative council by the NCP in 2020.

Excerpts from an interview with mid-day…

You are contesting against Chhatrapati Udayan Raje Bhosale, a three-time MP and a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. What do you have to say about this?
I don't think my fight is against Udayanraje. It is a fight between democracy and dictatorship.  Udayanraje became a three-time MP because of Sharad Pawar-saheb. The people on the ground have understood what is right and what is wrong and this will be reflected in the outcome when the election results are announced.

How's the response to your campaign across the Satara constituency?
The love and response people are showing to my campaigning in the constituency is terrific. Despite the scorching summer heat, youngsters, elders and women voters are meeting me and say they need change. People in Maharashtra are very sensitive and they have not liked the way splits were engineered in NCP and Shiv Sena. The people I meet tell me that they will vote against the BJP and Mahayuti. Speak with people on the ground and you will get a real idea of the mood.

What are the issues in your constituency?
Satara district has a good source of water and we have rich forest cover, but the people in the constituency want our city to be developed as a model city. There are some talukas in Satara which have the issue of water scarcity and we will have to work towards bringing these areas under irrigation. We have farmers who cultivate sugarcane on a large scale and the impact of the ban on export by the central government has an indirect impact on our farmers. The youngsters have to leave the district and go to Pune and Mumbai for jobs and so I want to solve this issue too.

What is your vision?
Our district has several tourist attractions and this can help in boosting the local economy… so I have plans regarding the same. I also want to develop educational hubs of international standards, and provide better health and medical facilities in our constituency.

What about some talk that the sitting MP (Shriniwas Patil of NCP SP faction) was not very active and this might transfer your share of votes to your opponent?
I think some people are deliberately trying to spread misinformation. Despite 83-84 years of age, the sitting MP was very active in the constituency.

You have been named as an accused in an alleged R62 crore scam involving allocation of space at the APMC market. How do you respond to these allegations?
The level of politics has fallen so low that in future, people will think whether they should enter politics or not. The people in power are misusing the government machinery to target those who try to ‘show the mirror to them’. There was a time when there would be arguments/debates between those in power and the Opposition and that was based on ideological differences, but in today’s scenario, the ones who speak the truth are targetted by those in power using government machinery. I am a candidate and after filing my nomination, a case was registered against me in a very old matter. Those in power know that they are losing the elections and so they are using all these tactics.

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