NCP pits Bhagirath against BJP’s Samadhan in Pandharpur Assembly bypoll

The NCP has announced nomination of Bhagirath Bhalke for the Pandharpur-Mangalvedha Assembly byelection slated for April 17.

Bhalke is the son of former legislator Bharat Bhalke, who died due to coronavirus pandemic, and will be pitted against BJP candidate Samadhan Avatade. The by-election was necessitated due to the death of sitting legislator Bharat Bhalke.

The NCP hopes to ride on the sympathy wave but also with Shiv Sena and Congress on its side. On the other hand, BJP will make all efforts to cash in on veteran leader Sudhakar Paricharak’s popularity and work done in the past. Paricharak, who was in NCP, has migrated to BJP while his nephew Prashant Paricharak is the BJP legislator in the Maharashtra Legislative Council.

Bhagirath’s nomination was declared by the state unit chief Jayant Patil three days after the ruling ally Shiv Sena’s Solapur district women wing chief Shaila Godse had filed her nomination for the Pandharpur-Mangalvedha Assembly by-election slated for April 17. Godse’s revolt has posed a major challenge to the NCP which is banking on support from ruling partners Shiv Sena and Congress to retain the seat. NCP has already taken up Godse’s rebellion with Shiv Sena’s top leadership and hopes she will withdraw from the fray.

The NCP decided to field Bhagirath after Patil and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on March 21 had held marathon talks with party leaders and workers from Pandharpur-Mangalvedha. Thereafter, the duo briefed NCP chief Sharad Pawar who gave his nod for Bhagirath’s candidature.

Bhagirath was made the chairman of Vitthal Cooperative Sugar Factory after his father’s death. Bharat Bhalke was the chairman of the factory for 18 long years. Former legislator Bharat Bhalke actively pursued the Maha Vikas Aghadi government for government guarantees for loans. The government finally yielded and provided loan guarantees and increased the amount of guarantee because the earlier figure was based on the three year average of cane production.

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