Pune: Know what local Congress leaders think about contesting upcoming civic body elections
Pune: Recently several state-level Congress leaders expressed their disappointment over the 'neglect' towards their party within the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government's decision-making process. This bitter experience within the grand alliance between Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena has led local Congress leaders from the city to think twice about contesting upcoming Pune Municipal Corporation elections with their state-level alliance partners. Interestingly while the city leaders demanded no alliance at local level, Pune City Congress Chief Ramesh Bagwe was attending a meeting of the MVA in Mumbai at the same time.
A meeting was called to discuss the strategy of Congress party about contesting PMC elections in 2022. During the meeting, several influential local leaders have emphasized that the party should contest these elections alone and that there should be a single-ward system for the elections. Even though the local leaders have decided against allying with the NCP and Sena, it is the high command and state level leadership which will take a final call regarding the alliance for civic body elections.
The meeting of city-level Congress leaders was called by former deputy Mayor and Corporator Aba Bagul. Other leaders including Ulhas Pawar, Mohan Joshi, Balasaheb Shivarkar, Kamal Vyavahare, Virendra Kirad, Datta Bahirat, Sujata Shetty, Lata Rajguru attended the meeting. City Congress unit president Ramesh Bagwe and other serving corporators stayed away from this meeting. It was Shivarkar who categorically mentioned that Congress should not contest the PMC elections in alliance and should go alone to yield better results.
Once a bastion of the Congress party, PMC has been lately dominated by the Bhartiya Janata Party and NCP. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had also performed impressively in the 2012 elections but later lost its popularity among masses due to several flip-flops on critical issues like the Pune Metro project.
City leaders from the Congress also demanded that the recent losses suffered by the party in elections should be analysed and introspection should be done by the candidates and local leaders over their dismal performance.