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Fielding of Parth Pawar almost ‘certain’ from Maval, Lande likely to contest from Shirur

NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malick told The Indian Express that though the candidate for Maval had still not been finalised, the 29-year-old Parth certainly was the top contender.

Former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s son Parth Pawar is almost certain to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Maval constituency on an NCP ticket, his party said on Monday. From the neighbouring Shirur constituency, former MLA Vilas Lande is likely to be fielded by the party.

Parth’s likely candidature from Maval is under discussion for several months now. He himself had made it clear that he would like to contest if the party gave him the ticket. Parth has been making the rounds of the constituency and has been meeting local leaders and party workers.

NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malick told The Indian Express that though the candidate for Maval had still not been finalised, the 29-year-old Parth certainly was the top contender.

“Party workers and leaders have been clamouring for his candidature from Maval. He is certainly one of the aspirants from the seat,” Malick said.

Asked how serious was his candidature, Malick said Parth was “certainly” ahead of the other contenders. Malik said Vilas Lande was a similar front runner from the Shirur constituency. Lande said he was already in the campaign mode.

“NCP is united in Shirur to defeat the Shiv Sena,” he said. The seat currently belongs to Sena’s Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil, who has won three consecutive terms from here.

But Lande said the story could be very different this time. “Where are the opponents in Shirur? There are none. Nobody seems to have the strength to contest against me,” he said.

Malick said the party was working very hard in the Maval and Shirur constituencies as both these seats seemed to be within its reach.

“We are confident of snatching both the seats from the Shiv Sena. That is why we are looking to field very strong candidates in both seats,” he said.

BJP, in the meanwhile, seems to have dropped its decibel levels in the constituency since last week after the prospects of its alliance with Shiv Sena brightened up. The two parties had been engaged in a verbal duel earlier, but that has gone a bit silent now.

“We are doing our work as usual. Shiv Sena used to badmouth us earlier and we used to be forced to respond. Now, they are not saying anything to us, and therefore, there is no response from our side,” Laxman Jagtap, a BJP MLA, said.

Jagtap had contested the Maval Lok Sabha seat in 2014 on a People’s and Workers’ Party of India ticket but had lost to Shiv Sena’s Shrirang Chandu Barne, the sitting MP, by over 1.5 lakh votes. He later switched to BJP and successfully contested the Assembly elections from Maval.

He is eyeing the Lok Sabha seat once again but is aware that he has Barne to contend with. Barne, he said, had gained from the Modi wave last time and was helped by the fact that he was the official BJP candidate.

Barne, in the meanwhile, claimed that his candidacy from Maval had already been finalised, and that he was ready to repeat his performance. “My rivals have still not been finalised. Whoever is fielded against me, be it Parth Pawar, I am confident of winning again. I have done a lot of developmental work in the area in the last five years,” he said.

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