PIMPRI: A war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena has begun with a local BJP leader declaring his party’s intention to contest both the Maval and Shirur Lok Sabha constituencies. Pimpri Chinchwad is divided between these two constituencies. The BJP is currently ruling in the Pimpri Chinchwad civic body.
BJP city unit chief and Chinchwad MLA Laxman Jagtap has staked his party’s claim on these constituencies saying even if the BJP enters into a poll alliance with the Shiv Sena, the two seats will be contested by Bhosari MLA Mahesh Landge and him.
The BJP’s announcement to contest both the seats has not gone down well with its alliance partner. Shiv Sena MP Shrirang Barne reacted immediately to this saying, “Jagtap is declaring names of candidates even before his party’s president does so as if he is the third most influential leader in the BJP after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.”
This political mudslinging involving two key constituencies is likely to impact adversely, the already troubled ties between the two parties, especially when the BJP is trying to save the alliance for 2019 parliamentary polls. The Shiv Sena, at the state level, has already announced that there will be no alliance with the BJP for 2019 polls.
Currently, the Shirur Lok Sabha constituency is represented by Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil while the Maval constituency is represented by Shrirang Barne, both belonging to the Shiv Sena.
During the last elections, both seats went to Shiv Sena during the seat-sharing exercise. Besides, the Shirur seat has been retained by the Shiv Sena in the past three consecutive elections. Therefore, this constituency is considered as the bastion of the party. Now, the BJP wants to contest both the seats.
Jagtap’s announcement has raised doubts about BJP’s intentions to forge an alliance with the Shiv Sena. Jagtap is a front-runner in the BJP from Maval. Barne is Jagtap’s political rival, who had defeated Jagtap in 2014. Besides the claim on the Maval constituency, Jagtap also announced that Bhosari MLA Mahesh Landge as the possible party candidate from Shirur.
The Shiv Sena and the BJP were alliance partners in the last Lok Sabha elections. It was broken six months later before the state assembly polls. Jagtap claimed that political equations changed during the assembly elections and the BJP benefited from this. If the contests between Jagtap and Barne for Maval and Landge and Patil for Shirur take place, then they will surely be closely fought tussles. NCP candidates could gain in the likely scenario of a triangular fight from these constituencies. However, the NCP will have to choose its candidate carefully.
When asked to comment on the BJP’s claim on Shirur Lok Sabha seat, sitting MP from the constituency Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil said, “It seems BJP’s National President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have given all rights for selecting candidates for all 48 seats in Maharashtra to this duo (Jagtap and Landge). I think they must leave some seats for Shah and Modi to decide. In 2014, I had said that even if the then US President Barack Obama had contested the election against me, I would have won.”