Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) Medha Kulkarni has been denied a party ticket for the second time. Kulkarni, who was a legislator from 2014 to 2019 from Kothrud seat in Pune, was denied a ticket in 2019. The party had instead nominated state president Chandrakant Patil who had won the election. Thereafter, the party had promised her nomination in the election to the Pune graduates constituency slated for December. However, once again the party fielded Maratha leader Sangram Deshmukh.
Kulkarni, who has been an Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist, had recently opened a new office and launched an outreach programme to register graduates, hoping that the party would give her a ticket.
After being denied BJP nomination in the assembly elections held last year, Kulkarni was approached by other parties, including the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). However, she rejected their offer, declaring that she cannot change her loyalty. Recently, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had reportedly expressed its desire to field her in the Pune graduates constituency. However, Kulkarni clarified that she was not quitting BJP.
When contacted by the Free Press Journal, Kulkarni declined to comment on the party's decision to field Sangram Deshmukh. Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activist Rajesh Pande and city leader Ravindra Bhegde were other aspirants for nomination.
Kulkarni, four days ago, had released a video in which she had clearly said that she had certain grievances and that she would discuss them with the leadership. She also urged her supporters not to believe in rumours and clarified again that she will continue to work for BJP.
In a related development, BJP has nominated Shirish Boralkar in Aurangabad graduates constituency and city mayor Sandip Joshi in Nagpur graduates constituencies. The election is scheduled for December 1 and counting will commence on December 3.
Meanwhile, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, on Monday, declared that the ruling partners Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress will together contest elections to Pune, Nagpur and Aurangabad graduates constituencies and Pune and Amravati teachers constituencies. “The Maha Vikas Aghadi partners will fight these elections together to defeat BJP,’’ said Thorat, who is also the state Congress president.
Thorat’s view was shared by NCP state president and Minister of Water Resources Jayant Patil who also announced that three partners will forge an alliance in the council elections to the graduates and teachers constituencies. “Candidates will be finalised soon at the MVA’s meeting,” he said.
Thorat and Patil have, thereby, strongly rejected media reports that the three parties are going solo.