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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Maha polls: Oppn to support MNS to defeat BJP’s Patil

mumbai Updated: Oct 10, 2019 00:16 IST
Naresh Kamath
Naresh Kamath

Keen on giving a tough fight to state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief and revenue minister Chandrakant Patil in his debut election from Kothrud in Pune, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have decided to support Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate Kishor Shinde, instead of fielding their own candidate, to ensure Opposition votes don’t get divided.

Patil is considered number two in the state BJP after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. A confidant of BJP chief Amit Shah, Patil has never hidden his ambition to become the chief minister. The party refused to renominate MLA Medha Kulkarni to give the safe seat to Patil. Kulkarni has made her unhappiness public, though she has supported Patil.

For local BJP workers, it was a virtual shock that Kulkarni was denied a ticket. On learning that Patil would be picked, BJP workers put up banners demanding that outsiders should not get the ticket. However, BJP leaders overruled their demand and went ahead with Patil, who hails from Kolhapur. “We have decided not to field a candidate and support the MNS, as we want to defeat Chandrakant Patil,” said NCP leader Ajit Pawar.

MNS chief Raj Thackeray planned to start his campaign for Assembly elections by addressing a rally in Kothrud on Wednesday, but it got cancelled owing to the rain. The ground at Saraswati Vidya Mandir in Kothrud, which was obtained after great difficulty, was flooded.

Shinde said he will emerge as a giant killer. “The people of Kothrud don’t want an outsider and have decided to send him back to Kolhapur,” said Shinde.

Patil has been dismissing the objections of being an outsider. “I was the guardian minister of Pune and played a vital role in its development,” he said, soon after he was nominated.

He highlighted the works on Metro and flyovers being carried out across Pune. “The problem is that my opponents don’t have any issue and hence are raking up such non-issues,” he said.

The BJP has deputed leader Girish Bapat to ensure a win.

Meanwhile, Sena workers are upset that all eight seats in Pune have been bagged by the BJP. “How can we support the BJP, when it has virtually banished us from Pune and want to render us irrelevant,” asked a senior Sena leader.

First Published: Oct 10, 2019 00:16 IST

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