Lok Sabha elections 2019: Congress Pune face unclear, Shinde hits poll button
Leaders say preparations on despite announcement pending
Even as Congress is yet to announce the candidate for Pune Lok Sabha constituency, Arvind Shinde, one of the front runners, launched his campaign in the city. On Thursday, Shinde met various social workers, traders and held meetings with party activists.
Shinde along with Mohan Joshi, is in the race for ticket for Lok Sabha polls from Pune. The party has already made it clear that Praveen Gaikwad, member of Sambhaji Gaikwad, will not be its candidate following which Gaikwad said he is withdrawing from the race.
Among those Shinde met included senior social activist Baba Adhav, educationalist PA Inamdar, and traders. While Shinde, a five-time corporator in Pune Municipal Corporation, said it was a courtesy visit, party leaders said it is a part of preparations for polls.
The delay about the candidate announcement, according to party insiders, is mainly because two senior leaders from the Congress – state unit chief Ashok Chavan and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan – were pushing for two different names for the ticket. While Ashok wants Shinde to get the ticket, Prithviraj along with state incharge Mallikarjun Kharge back Joshi to get the opportunity.
“Even as the party has not announced its candidate, we as a party have started preparations with all basic things already in place,” said Ramesh Bagwe, city Congress chief. The party has already completed appointments of incharge of each assembly seat, who in turn will coordinate with booth level workers.
Earlier, the insider-outsider debate was another factor for Congress in announcing the Pune candidate. While Shinde and Joshi are party loyalists, Gaikwad was termed as an outsider.
While Shinde met various people in the city, Joshi was missing in action. Joshi also did not attend Wednesday’s meeting between Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders at Congress Bhavan.
Gaikwad flays party’s delay
Sambhaji Brigade’s Praveen Gaikwad, an aspirant for Congress ticket from Pune, criticised the party for delay in announcing the candidate. Gaikwad, who was denied ticket by Congress, said while Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar got ticket within hours of her entry into party, activist like him has not been considered.