Mumbai: Even though the BJP has announced to field Gopichand Padalkar from Baramati, it will not put up any challenge to Ajit Pawar, the NCP candidate.
Although Ajit Pawar resigned from the Assembly last week, he was convinced to contest again by his uncle and NCP chief Sharad Pawar. He will file his nomination on October 4.
Baramati has always been a bastion of Sharad Pawar. The NCP chief has not lost any election from Baramati. After he moved to national politics, Ajit Pawar started representing Baramati Assembly constituency since 1991 to date.
When there was a BJP wave, Ajit Pawar had defeated BJP candidate by more than 90,000 votes in the Assembly election in 2014. Even in 2019 the Lok Sabha election, NCP leader Supriya Sule got a lead of more than 1.27 lakh votes in the Baramati Assembly segment alone trouncing her nearest BJP candidate Kanchan Kul.
The BJP is banking on the Dhangar community support to defeat Padalkar. But, the Dhangar voters don't make a sizeable vote base, as their number is not more than 80,000 in the constituency.
But, most of them vote for NCP. The Maratha community constitutes around 2 lakh. Therefore, it is almost clear that Gopichand Padalkar will fight just a token contest from BJP.
He will be later rewarded with a seat in the legislative council. Padalkar's entry into the saffron party will help the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance to garner the Dhangar community votes. The community is one of the biggest in the state.
Will fight fire with fire: Ajit Pawar: Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said he was accepting the challenge thrown by the ruling BJP which has announced Dhangar leader Gopichand Padalkar as its candidate from Baramati Assembly seat.
Pawar, who resigned from the Assembly after being named by ED in the MSCB scam, said he planned to “fight fire with fire”. “I accept the challenge. I am ready to fight fire with fire.”