While the Shiv Sena has said the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) will contest the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic elections next year together, the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which is a part of the three-party alliance, said no such decision has been taken as yet.
“The Shiv Sena and NCP will fight the civic elections of PMC and PCMC together. We are also trying to get Congress on board,” Shiv Sena MP and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said at a meeting of party’s office bearers in Pune Saturday.
NCP spokesperson Ankush Kakade, however, said no such decision has been taken at the local level. “We are yet to discuss it. We are not aware if any such decision has been taken at a higher-level by our senior leaders,” Kakade said while not ruling out a possibility of the Maha Vikas Aghadi contesting the elections together.
NCP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit president Sanjog Waghere also said they were not aware if such an alliance had been struck or not. “Our leader, Ajit Pawar, will take the final decision on this count. Whatever decision, he takes we will abide by it.”
On Saturday, Raut said, “If the three parties, which are together at the state-level, contest the civic elections unitedly, then there is no reason why we cannot capture power in PMC and PCMC.” He had also claimed that NCP and Sena leaders were in agreement about contesting the elections together.
“We are also considering to rope in the Congress both in Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad. We want to put up a united front. The success of this venture will be replicated across the state,” he said.
On Sunday, state Congress vice-president Mohan Joshi said if the three parties contested the polls together, it would mean a certain victory of the Maha Vikas Aghadi. “We are keen on three parties joining hands and fighting the civic elections. Discussions on the issue are underway and will soon be finalised,” he said.
Pune city Congress general secretary Ramesh Iyer, however, said while deciding such an alliance, the merged 23 villages and the strength of each party will have to be taken into consideration. “Only nine of the Congress corporators had won in the 2017 civic elections. We had contested 100 wards in alliance with NCP. In the remaining wards, there was a friendly fight,” Iyer said.
Sena’s city president Sanjay More said the local party leaders and workers have welcomed Raut’s announcement. “If the three parties come together, MVA will certainly benefit. At the local level, however, we haven’t had any discussions. Whatever decision is taken, it will be taken by the party’s seniors and we will abide by it.”
In the 2017 civic elections, the BJP had for the first-time wrested power both in both the PMC and PCMC by unseating the NCP, which has 41 corporators. The Sena has 10 corporators in the civic body.
In Pimpri-Chinchwad, Congress could get even one corporator elected in the 2017 elections. Earlier, for 20 years, Congress had won in PCMC. The party does not have a city president in Pimpri-Chinchwad after its incumbent Sachin Sathe resigned a few months ago.
AICC secretary Prithviraj Sathe, who hails from Pimpri-Chinchwad, said, “The Pimpri-Chinchwad Congress will soon get a president as the new state chief will take a decision in this regard.”
Narendra Bansode, the youth Congress president of Pimpri-Chinchwad, said, “The Congress is on a revival mode in Pimpri-Chinchwad. There is a lot of enthusiasm among young party workers. We are agitating against the misrule of BJP in Pimpri-Chinchwad.” Bansode added that the BJP enjoyed support in the civic body and “only if the three parties come together, the BJP can be defeated”.
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