Pandharpur bypoll: Kalyan Kale to join NCP

As the campaigning for the Pandharpur-Mangalwedha assembly byelection gathers momentum, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kalyan Kale will join the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). This is a major gain for NCP at a time when the party has been attacked by BJP, especially in connection with the corruption charges against former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Antilia bomb scare case and Mansukh Hiren death case. Kale is expected to officially join NCP on April 8 in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who will be campaigning for the party’s nominee Bhagirath Bhalke, who is the son of former legislator late Bharat Bhalke.

Kale’s migration to NCP is a setback to BJP, which has fielded Samadhan Awatade against Bhalke. Kale’s move came days after state NCP chief Jayant Patil campaigned for Bhalke from Saturday to Monday. Kale has a notable presence in the cooperative sector, which the NCP proposes to encash.

In 2014, Kalyanrao Kale contested from Congress. He had received 65,000 votes. After that, Kale had joined the BJP. The byelections were necessitated following the death of Bharat Bhalke last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kale, recently, at a public rally, had said that sugar cooperative units are functional in the region due to NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s intervention and assistance. “In between some mistakes were committed. But now onwards, I will work under Pawar’s leadership,” said Kale.

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