Just a few days after the death of Pune MP Girish Bapat, pictures of posters which tagged Pune BJP President Jagdish Mulik as "future MP" went viral on social media. Mulik received backlash over these posters from NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad slamming him among others.
For the uninitiated, the discussion on "Who after Bapat" in the political circles of Pune is ripe nowadays.
Pune MP and senior BJP leader Bapat passed away on March 29, following a prolonged illness, plunging the state party into grief.
Taking to Twitter on April 1, Awhad had slammed Mulik saying - Let at least the 10-day period end then put banners like these. Or were you always waiting for an opportunity?
"And then you say we are different from other parties. Is this the way you prove that? Bapat family is still mourning the loss and you are ready with bat and pad (you have already started this discussion)," Awhad added.
Replying to this jibe by Awhad, Mulik took to Twitter and slammed the leader calling him Aurangzeb. "I do not need to learn sanskar from this Hindu hater," Mulik added.
Posters were put up by Atik Shaikh of the Aman Foundation in Pune.
Barely a day after Bapat's funeral, speculation has started in the political circles whether the Election Commission of India (ECI) would conduct a by-poll to fill up his seat, and which parties would be the contenders.
On Friday, NCP's Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, Ajit Pawar, was annoyed over a query as to when will the Pune Lok Sabha bypoll take place to fill the seat vacated after the demise of sitting BJP MP.
To a query on Congress leader Vijay Wadettiwar's claim that the party would contest the seat, Pawar almost erupted, saying: "It's been hardly three days since Bapat passed away, and all you are thinking about is the bypoll... Are there any human sentiments left?"
"What is the rush for holding the by-election? Is there no humanity left now? Maharashtra has some traditions... People will question whether they (politicians) have a heart and soul," Pawar had said.
This would be barely a year before the scheduled Lok Sabha elections of 2024, and some people are even guessing whether the by-election could be timed with the Karnataka Assembly polls scheduled on May 10.
In the death of Bapat, Pune BJP lost the third sitting lawmaker in the city. His death necessitates another by-poll in Pune.
The tenure of Lok Sabha is scheduled to end on 16 June 2024. It means that the remainder of the term of the seat which fell vacant due to Bapat's death is more than a year.
The term of the 17th Lok Sabha is up to 16 June 2024. As the vacancy from Pune has occurred more than one year before the expiration of the term of the House, by-elections are required to be held under Section 151A of R. P. Act 1951 to fill this vacancy within six months from the date of occurrence of vacancy that is March 29.
Names of Bapat's daughter-in-law Swarada Kelkar Bapat, wife Girija Bapat, former mayor Murlidhar Mohol, BJP President Jagdish Mulik and former MPs Sanjay Kakade, and Anil Shirole are said to be in the race from Pune BJP.
However, if Swarada Kelkar Bapat or Girija Bapat get the ticket, there is a possibility that BJP will get the candidate elected unopposed.
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