Devendra Fadnavis | Uddhav Thackeray should speak with restraint, says Home Minister Devendra Fadnavis
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Pune: The BJP is unable to expand its network in Pune district, which has 21 assembly constituencies, due to the Mah Yuti. In spite of workers’ insistence that the Maval Lok Sabha candidate should contest on the party’s lotus symbol, nothing could be done.

Only the Pune Lok Sabha constituency has the BJP candidate while in Shirur and Baramati, there are NCP (AP) candidates fighting the poll on the clock symbol while in Maval the Shiv Sena (BT) candidate will contest on the bow and arrow symbol. There is a lone BJP candidate, out of the four in the district.

The district is associated with senior leader Sharad Pawar. The BJP grew in power in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad after 2014. However, the NCP is stronger in rural areas of the district. The saffron party succeeded in wresting power in both the municipal corporations (PMC and PCMC) in the district in 2017. But it could not come to power in the Zilla Parishad. It was trying to hold its sway over the district. It tried to win over senior NCP leaders in rural parts of the district.

Former Zilla Parishad Presidents Pradeep Kand and Jalindar Kamthe were won over to spread across the district. The then District Guardian Minister Chandrakant Patil played a major role in this. Finally, the party took along NCP (AP) president Ajit Pawar in the ruling coalition. Therefore, the BJP’s expansion in the district stopped, which is clear from the LS candidates in the district.

Kanchan Kul was the BJP candidate from Baramati in the last election. Now, the constituency has been handed over to Ajit Pawar as per seat-sharing. His wife Sunetra Pawar is most likely to be fielded from Barmati. There will be no lotus symbol there.

Initially, it was said, in Shirur, that sitting MP Dr Amol Kolhe might join the BJP. However, he preferred to stay with Sharad Pawar. Since the Shirur seat has been allotted to the NCP (AP), Shiv Sena (BT) leader and former MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil joined the Ajit Pawar faction to contest the poll, where there is no lotus symbol due to the alliance.

BJP workers were insisting on the lotus symbol in the Maval Lok Sabha constituency, comprising Pune and Raigad districts. They took the stance that there be candidate from any alliance partner but they should contest only on the lotus symbol. Initially, it was said that Shiv Sena’s (BT) Barne would fight on the lotus symbol but it soon became clear that he would contest for the third time on the bow and arrow symbol. Workers got disappointed. But in Pune, they have ample opportunity to campaign for the lotus symbol in Pune city.

BJP workers will have to vote for the clock symbol

The Shiv Sena-BJP combine always fought against the NCP in the district in the past. Now, the NCP (AP) is an alliance partner, which will field candidates in Shirur and Baramati. Therefore, BJP workers will have to vote for the clock, which they opposed for many years in the past.

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