Congress Grapples With Candidate Selection Discord In Pune Lok Sabha Race

Congress Grapples With Candidate Selection Discord In Pune Lok Sabha Race

While the BJP has kickstarted its campaign with the announcement of former Mayor Muralidhar Mohol as its candidate, internal discord within the Congress has left their candidate selection undecided.

Aakash SinghUpdated: Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 03:56 PM IST
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Congress Grapples With Candidate Selection Discord In Pune Lok Sabha Race |

Amidst the buzz surrounding potential candidates like Ravindra Dhangekar, Mohan Joshi, and Vasant More, the Pune Lok Sabha Constituency is witnessing contrasting dynamics.

While the BJP has kickstarted its campaign with the announcement of former Mayor Muralidhar Mohol as its candidate, internal discord within the Congress has left their candidate selection undecided.

Congress state president Nana Patole had earlier indicated that a comprehensive survey, both at national and state levels, would determine the party's official candidate. Twenty aspirants had thrown their hats into the ring for the Pune Lok Sabha seat.

Now, senior Congress leaders have narrowed down the list to three contenders - former MLA Mohan Joshi, Kasba MLA Ravindra Dhangekar, and former Deputy Mayor Aba Bagul - leaving the final decision to the state level. On the other hand, the BJP has taken a proactive stance with Mohol's candidature announcement, contrasting the ongoing deliberations within the Congress.

As the decision-making process shifts to the regional level to resolve the candidate selection rift, the BJP's decision to field a Maratha candidate has prompted Congress to explore OBC candidates, with Dhangekar and Bagul emerging as front-runners. While Dhangekar's charisma appeals to Congress, Joshi's experience and past electoral success provide an alternative choice. Additionally, Bagul's track record of innovative projects adds depth to the pool of contenders.

Vasant More, a former MNS corporator, has expressed interest in contesting from both NCP and Congress, but faces opposition from local Congress workers.

What do the numbers say?

Pune Lok Sabha constituency currently comprises six Vidhan Sabha segments.

These include Vadgaon Sheri, represented by NCP (AP)'s Sunil Tingre; Shivajinagar, held by BJP's Siddharth Shirole; Kothrud, where Chandrakant Patil from BJP serves as the MLA; Parvati, represented by BJP's Madhuri Misal; Pune Cantonment (SC), with BJP's Sunil Kamble as the MLA; and Kasba Peth, held by Congress' Ravindra Dhangekar.

In the 2019 elections, late Girish Bapat of the BJP emerged victorious, defeating Congress's Mohan Joshi. This victory marked the BJP's dominance in Pune, despite the constituency historically leaning towards Congress. Over the years, the BJP has steadily increased its vote share, signaling a growing popularity among Pune's electorate.

In contrast, the Congress has faced challenges in maintaining its electoral presence, with its vote share fluctuating. Despite its efforts, Congress has struggled to keep pace with the BJP's rising dominance in Pune.

Overall, while both parties have significant influence in different segments of the Pune Lok Sabha constituency, the BJP currently holds the upper hand, as evidenced by its recent electoral victories and increasing popularity among voters.

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