Wednesday, December 08, 2021

PCMC: BJP hopes anti-incumbency factor will work in Pimpri-Chinchwad

The polling will take place at 1,605 polling booths. The police have already declared 88 polling centres and 373 polling booths as sensitive.

Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune |
February 21, 2017 5:11:48 am
Pune, Pune polls, Pune elections, elections, elections in Pune, PCMC, PCMC polls, PCMC elections, latest news, latest india news Express

NEARLY 12 lakh voters will have a chance to make a choice from as many as 773 candidates belonging to NCP, BJP, Shiv Sena, Congress, RPI, MNS, MIM and the 231 independent candidates as polling to elect 128 corporators to PCMC takes place on Tuesday. One candidate has already been declared elected unopposed.

This will be the 7th civic election. The first one was held in 1986 when municipal council was given the status of a municipal corporation. The polling will take place at 1,605 polling booths. The police have already declared 88 polling centres and 373 polling booths as sensitive.

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“All arrangements for conducting the polling across Pimpri-Chinchwad have been made. As many as 8,000 EVMs have been checked, re-checked and put in place,” said PCMC election chief Yeshwant Mane. Civic chief Dinesh Waghmare said in 2012, PCMC had 52 per cent polling but this time they are expecting around 70 per cent. “We have gone all out to create awareness among voters,” he said.

The main fight is widely considered to be between Ajit Pawar-led NCP, the ruling party and BJP, which has gone all-out to snatch power from NCP with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis himself closely monitoring the party’s fortunes. The Shiv Sena is likely to do well in some pockets. The Congress has struggled to find candidates as it managed to field only 70 of them.

First, it was the Congress which single-handedly ruled PCMC from 1986 and then it was NCP which has maintained its supremacy for a past decade. In fact, in 2012, NCP created history when it won with a brute majority of 83 seats. BJP and Sena never were in the race to PCMC’s seat of power. In 2012,  BJP’s performance had managed only 3 corporators while Sena had 15 corporators.

However, in the run up to the 2017 elections, the BJP upped the ante to capture the Pawar bastion, “importing” several sitting NCP corporators and top leaders likes MLA Mahesh Landge and Azam Pansare  in its bid to grab power. Even former Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Babar was roped in.

In fact, it all began during the assembly polls two years ago, when Laxman Jagtap, the close confidant of Ajit Pawar, shifted loyalty to BJP. Jagtap won the Chinchwad seat, defeating Sena and NCP nominees. Sensing opportunity, the BJP wasted no time in annointing Jagtap as party’s local president. And Jagtap too was quick on the job, targeting NCP for corruption and then later, poached NCP’s key players for the party.

With many turncoats by their side, the BJP launched all-out assault with several top leaders, including Fadnavis and Union Ministers such as Manohar Parrikar, holding a slew of rallies to impress the voters and seeking a chance to prove their mettle. In rallies after rallies, the CM and other BJP leaders targeted NCP for corruption and promised transparency. At his first meeting in Chinchwad, CM said, “From croreparti, the PCMC is on way to becoming roadpati because of the massive corruption in PCMC by the ruling party.” In his concluding rally, Fadnavis  urged voters to give BJP a chance to carry out five times more development work.

NCP, which was looking down the barrel, however, seemed to have covered considerable ground as it went around, seeking votes for development it carried out in Pimpri-Chinchwad. “The BJP and the CM should show us one city in Maharashtra that can be compared to Pimpri-Chinchwad on the development index…,” Ajit Pawar challenged Fadnavis during a public rally. Pawar said if corruption is proved in PCMC, he will give up politics.

NCP has seemingly risen to the challenge from BJP as it has picked several of its old guards — sitting corporators and ex corporators. According to observers, its panel of four candidates looks much stronger than the BJP’s.

BJP has struggled to find popular candidates even after poaching few from the NCP. BJP chief Jagtap though puts up a brave front,”Voters are fed up of corruption perpetuated by NCP…we will win maximum seats and uproot the NCP,” he said. However, NCP leader Yogesh Behl was quick to ridicule the BJP claim. “BJP has not been able to prove a single allegation of corruption. It has only indulged in political bakwas (nonsense)…,” he said. Behl said people are well aware of the development that has taken place and will therefore, vote for the NCP.

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