Pune: All eyes will be on the interesting battle in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) stronghold Kasba Peth in the upcoming State Assembly polls. Since the last 25 years, the BJP has not faced any formidable challenge in this constituency.
Senior BJP leader Girish Bapat had represented Kasba Peth, but resigned after winning the Lok Sabha election in May. The position has been lying vacant since May. Now, the BJP has fielded Mayor Mukta Tilak and the Congress has put up senior leader Arvind Shinde against her.
Kasba is a prestigious seat, as it is the oldest State Assembly constituency and it is the first bastion of the BJP in Pune, even before Kothrud.
Shinde and Tilak are senior corporators and have done a lot of work in the constituency. Both are associated with people’s development and social work and were eager to contest the Assembly election from Kasba Peth.
However, Congress’ Rohit Tilak and BJP’s Girish Bapat held on to this constituency because of strong connections in their respective parties.
Bapat’s foray in national politics and Rohit Tilak being sidelined because of sexual assault allegations opened the doors for Mukta Tilak and Shinde.
Interestingly, Ravindra Dhangekar, former MNS leader who joined the Congress in 2017 was interested in Kasba Peth, but the Congress preferred Shinde.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) city unit chief Ajay Shinde and rebel candidate of Shiv Sena Vishal Dhanawade are also contesting from Kasba Peth and this will result in division of votes.
There is speculation that it will hamper Congress more than the BJP.
Undercurrents suggest that at the last moment, MNS will help Congress and Shiv Sena will give support to BJP candidate Tilak.