BJP-RPI tug of war likely over Pimpri seat

Tanaji Khot
Sunday, 4 March 2018

RPI in no mood to withdraw from the Assembly battlefield

Pune: A tug of war is expected between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its alliance partner Republican Party of India (A) over Pimpri Assembly segment where RPI candidate Chandrakanta Sonkamble was defeated with a narrow margin during last Assembly election. However, the situation changed after BJP came to power in PCMC after winning the civic polls in February 2017. 

RPI is not likely to let go of the seat easily for BJP, as its candidate was defeated with a narrow margin of 2,500 votes.

RPI (A) President Ramdas Athavale, during his recent visit to Pimpri-Chinchwad, said his party is going to win the seat with a margin of 25,000 votes this time. His announcement indicated RPI's intention ahead of the Assembly election. 

Pimpri Assembly segment is reserved for a scheduled caste candidate. During the last election, Sonkamble was defeated by Shiv Sena candidate Gautam Chabukswar in a triangular contest. Sonkamble secured the third position. The difference between her and winning candidate was 2,500 votes. Experts said had Sonkamble contested on BJP's party symbol she could have won the election as a result of Modi wave. 

BJP is also in no mood to withdraw considering its increasing strength in the Assembly segment. The PCMC Standing Committee Chairperson Seema Savale is aspiring to contest on the BJP ticket on the Pimpri seat. 

The experts say that after influential leader from the minority community, Azam Pansare joined BJP, the party's strength has gone up. BJP has 77 out of 128 seats in the PCMC. Thus, the prospects of a BJP candidate winning from this constituency are very high. 

Another city BJP leader Amit Gorkhe is preparing to contest the election from Pimpri. RPI recently conducted a social harmony conclave in the PCMC. This is an attempt by the RPI to claim Pimpri segment. 

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