Lok Sabha elections 2019: Candidate-less Congress begins Pune campaign (officially)
The city unit of Congress launched its campaign for the Lok Sabha polls on Sunday, without announcing the Pune candidate. The campaign was launched in the presence of ticket aspirants.
The last date for filing nominations is April 4, while the polls are scheduled on April 23.
The Congress launched its campaign from Kasba peth Ganesh temple where leaders from its allies Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) were also present.
Party loyalists Arvind Shinde and Mohan Joshi are among the front runners for Congress ticket for Pune. Also, induction of Sambhaji Brigade founder Pravin Gaikwad in the party has triggered speculations that Congress may consider his name for the Pune seat.
While Congress has announced all its candidates from across Maharashtra, local leaders have been wondering why there is a delay in announcing the Pune candidate.
During the campaign, all ticket hopefuls were present while trying to give a message that the party is united.
“Congress has multiple candidates who are capable of winning the polls. The delay can be because the party wants to take more time to choose among the capable candidates. Our fight is not against the BJP candidate, but their ideology,” said Shinde.
Earlier this week, Shinde had started preparations for polls by meeting social workers and traders. Shinde however, clarified that he will work for whichever candidate the party chooses to field from Pune.
The Congress candidate will lock horns with BJP’s Girish Bapat.
Joshi, a former member of legislative council (MLC) said, “The party is strong and capable of clinching victory even if a candidate has not been announced yet.”
In the past too Congress had announced Pune candidate just two days before the last date of nominations.
“In 1999 too, Congress had announced its candidate at the last moment and yet we won the polls,” said Shinde.
“There has indeed been a delay in announcing the candidate for Pune. We have requested the high command to expedite the process,” said Harshawardhan Patil, on Saturday when senior leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge met in Mumbai.