BJP Has Done Nothing For Pune In Last 10 Years: Congress Leader Mohan Joshi

BJP Has Done Nothing For Pune In Last 10 Years: Congress Leader Mohan Joshi

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Joshi faced defeat at the hands of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Girish Bapat by over 3 lakh votes

Gaurav KadamUpdated: Monday, January 08, 2024, 06:44 PM IST
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BJP Has Done Nothing For Pune In Last 10 Years: Congress Leader Mohan Joshi | File Photo

In an exclusive dialogue with The Free Press Journal, senior Congress leader Mohan Joshi affirmed his formal request to the party for a ticket to contest the upcoming Pune Lok Sabha election. However, he acknowledged that the ultimate decision rests with the high command.

"I've been a representative face of the Congress for several decades in the city. My tenure in the Maharashtra Legislative Council saw decisions that significantly benefited the citizens. Even thereafter, my commitment has remained steadfast towards addressing people's concerns and resolving their issues. While I've expressed my interest in contesting the Lok Sabha polls this time, the final decision rests with the high command," Joshi stated.

Turning his attention to the current scenario, Joshi criticised the ruling BJP, pointing out the persistent challenges despite Pune's significant electoral support for the saffron party over the last decade. "Despite Pune's substantial backing with nearly 100 corporators in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), eight MLAs, two MPs, one Union Minister, and one State Cabinet Minister, issues in the city persist," Joshi lamented.

He voiced deep concern over the escalating crime rates tarnishing Pune's once-sterling image. "Previously, Pune was a city people loved to visit. However, the spike in crime has significantly marred its reputation. From the machete attack on a college student to the Lalit Patil drug racket, recent high-profile cases have painted Pune as a city beleaguered by crime," he remarked.

When asked about his priorities if elected, Joshi emphasised his commitment to addressing the long-neglected issues faced by Punekars. "My primary focus will be on alleviating the crippling traffic congestion, a major concern that continues to plague our city," Joshi asserted. He stressed the incomplete Pune Metro and the broken Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) system, indicating his intent to overhaul these critical transportation systems.

"Furthermore, I aim to tackle the pressing environmental challenges confronting Pune, with pollution levels soaring," Joshi continued. He expressed his determination to improve living conditions for the 40% of Pune's population residing in slums, emphasising the need for better housing and an enhanced standard of living. Health concerns also featured prominently in Joshi's agenda, reflecting his comprehensive approach to addressing Pune's multifaceted challenges.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Joshi faced defeat at the hands of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Girish Bapat by over 3 lakh votes.

'MVA will win over 40 seats'

Maharashtra Congress President Nana Patole recently expressed confidence in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance's potential to secure 40 to 41 Lok Sabha seats out of the total 48 in the state during the upcoming elections. When asked about this, Joshi echoed Patole's sentiment, stating, "He is absolutely correct. As the Maharashtra Congress Vice President, I've extensively studied the dynamics of the 48 seats, and I firmly believe that people are tired of the BJP."

"The people want development and solutions to their everyday struggles. Issues like inflation and unemployment weigh heavily on their minds, and they squarely attribute responsibility to the ruling BJP for these challenges," Joshi emphasised.

He added, "Despite their grievances, people have remained silent, tolerating these hardships. However, their silence doesn't imply acceptance. They are acutely aware of how the present government assumed power and the circumstances surrounding it. Ultimately, they will voice their discontent through the power of their votes."

Will the split in NCP and Shiv Sena affect MVA's chances in Pune?

Joshi expressed his conviction that the internal divisions within the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena wouldn't impact the MVA's prospects in Pune. "The people of Pune are cultured and progressive. They hold a deep reverence for NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. They have seen the recent political tamasha in Maharashtra and understand the reasons behind the defections from Pawar's camp," he added.

'Ravindra Dhangekar has fully backed me'

There has been speculation within political circles about the possibility of the party giving the Lok Sabha ticket to Kasba MLA Ravindra Dhangekar. Nonetheless, Joshi firmly stated that Dhangekar has extended his complete support for Joshi's candidacy. "I had specifically recommended Dhangekar's name to the Congress leadership for the Kasba bypoll. He has been my trusted associate for a long time. Even though Dhangekar was the official candidate during that bypoll, I oversaw all the intricacies of the election. He stands by me and has publicly expressed his support," Joshi confirmed.

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