Of the four Lok Sabha constituencies in Pune district, Maval was barely mentioned until five days ago; that is when Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar announced he would not contest Lok Sabha elections anymore.

Pune district has four Lok Sabha constituencies – Pune, Baramati, Shirur and Maval, but Madha was the seat that was, at the time, being ‘assigned’ to Sharad Pawar.

Suddenly, Madha’s press limelight gave way to Maval, in much the same way that Sharad Pawar is attempting to give (some) way to Parth Pawar, his grand-nephew and NCP poll debutante.

Maval, now, is a key seat for NCP to win, given that on Friday, Parth Pawar, son of Sharad Pawar’s brother Ajit Pawar, has been officially named as the NCP’s candidate for the seat in the Lok Sabha 2019 elections.

NCP’s generation next – Supriya Sule from Baramati and Parth Pawar from Maval – is here.

The Shiv Sena-BJP combine dominate Maval, five of six assembly seats belong to the alliance. The Shiv Sena grapevine has it that sitting MP, Shrirang Barne is the likely ticket recipient for Maval. Barne said, “The BJP and Sena will ensure victory in this constituency.”

The challenge for the Sena candidate, however, is getting BJP office-bearers to pull their weight, cue BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap who has openly voiced his discontent with Barne and the Sena.

The joker in the pack for 2019 is the Shetkari Kamgar Party (Peasants and Workers Party of India), who do extert some influence in this constituency. In the broader scheme of the elections in the state, the farmers’ parties head honcho Raju Shetti has aligned with Congress-NCP, the Shetkari party’s MLC from Maval, Jayant Patil,had already pledged his support to the NCP.

Ajit Pawar, amidst reports of a family disagreement with Sharad Pawar, will be a major part of son Parth’s election campaign. After all, son rise is only guaranteed if NCP wins the Maval seat.

First Published:
Mar 16, 2019 10:32 IST

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