Factional Rifts Intensify as Ramesh Bagwe Throws Hat into Pune Congress’ Lok Sabha Candidacy Ring


Pune: In the labyrinth of factionalism within Pune’s Congress, the battle for the Lok Sabha constituency ticket has escalated with the entry of former Minister of State for Home Affairs, Ramesh Bagwe. Bagwe’s declaration to vie for the Pune Lok Sabha ticket has intensified what was already a four-way tussle within the party.

With former MLA Mohan Joshi, Kasba Constituency MLA Ravindra Dhangekar, and in-charge city president Arvind Shinde already in contention, Bagwe’s decision to join the race has thrown the Congress into a dilemma on how to navigate the intricacies of candidature allocation.

The fissures within Pune’s Congress have deepened, with the post of city president serving as a focal point for discord. The party’s resolution to rotate posts held for five years or more saw Bagwe step down from his position. Subsequently, state president Nana Patole appointed Arvind Shinde as his successor. However, Shinde’s appointment sparked resentment within the party ranks.

While factionalism was evident during Bagwe’s tenure, it intensified following Shinde’s appointment. Separate programs have been organized by the factions led by former MLA Mohan Joshi, Dhangekar, and Bagwe himself, exacerbating tensions within the city.

Amidst speculations surrounding the candidature, Bagwe’s readiness to contest elections, subject to the party’s decision, has added another layer to the aspirant pool in Congress. Consequently, the party faces the daunting challenge of navigating the established candidacy framework.

Bagwe has extensive electoral experience to his side, having been elected from Parvati Assembly Constituency in 2004 and Pune Cantonment Assembly Constituency in 2009. He also became a corporator and assembly leader in Pune Municipal Corporation, in addition to a six-year tenure as city president of Congress.

Senior Congress corporator and former deputy Mayor Aba Bagul’s letter to state president Nana Patole underscores growing unrest within the party. Bagul’s demand for candidate selection based on public opinion has further stirred unease among party members.

With 20 individuals expressing interest in contesting the elections, including Joshi, Dhangekar, and others such as Ad. Abhay Chhajed and Sanjay Balgude, Congress has initiated the interview process for aspirants.

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