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NCP to contest LS polls from Pune, Congress from Baramati

Congress leaders are opposed to giving the Pune seat to NCP, as it has been with the party since the first Lok Sabha elections.

pune Updated: Apr 13, 2018 18:43 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,maharashtra,elections
The Congress party said it will field a candidate from the Baramati constituency, which for decades has been represented by NCP chief Sharad Pawar and is now held by his daughter, Supriya Sule.(HT File Photo)

A day after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) staked its claim for a Pune Lok Sabha seat, the Congress reacted sharply and countered by asking for a Baramati seat, the stronghold of the Pawar family.

The Congress party said it will field a candidate from the Baramati constituency, which for decades has been represented by NCP chief Sharad Pawar and is now held by his daughter, Supriya Sule. Congress leaders are opposed to giving the Pune seat to NCP, as it has been with the party since the first Lok Sabha elections.

Former Pune district Congress chief Devidas Bhansali in a statement said the party has a strong presence in Baramati. “Among the six municipal councils in the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency, four, including Jejuri, Saswad, Bhor and Indapur, are being controlled by the Congress party.”

Senior party leaders said that as per the formula decided by both parties, Pune has been contested by the Congress, while the other three constituencies from the district are with the NCP. “Party workers are of the view that Pune should remain with the Congress as both parties have already chalked out a formula,” said Congress spokesperson Anant Gadgil.

The party lost the Pune seat to the BJP by a margin of 3.5 lakh votes during 2014 polls.

On Wednesday, NCP leader and former deputy chief minister, Ajit Pawar, citing the party’s increased strength in the city announced that the NCP will contest from the Pune constituency in the upcoming next Lok Sabha polls, scheduled to be held in 2019.

Pawar said, “I don’t know if there will be an alliance (between NCP and Congress), but even if there is one, the party will contest the Lok Sabha seat.”

Pawar cited the party’s performance during the assembly polls as a strong reason for staking a claim for the Pune seat.

“The party received the second largest number of votes during elections for assembly seats from Pune. This is an indication of increased strength of the party in the city,” said Pawar.

The NCP’s demand for Pune seat, according to party leaders, is part of possible swap with the Gondia-Bhandara seat, which the party has been contesting.

The seat will soon see by-polls necessitated by the resignation of Nana Patole, who quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joined the Congress.

Reacting to Pawar’s announcement, Congress leaders expressed disappointment saying that such remarks may create problems for a possible alliance.

First Published: Apr 13, 2018 18:42 IST