Bjp Tries To Make Inroads In Sharad Pawar’s Bastion | Pune News

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PUNE: Eyeing to make inroads into NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s bastion of Baramati, senior BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman is set to begin her three-day tour of the constituency from Thursday as a part of the party’s preparations ahead of the 2024 general elections.
Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and other state Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, including state president Chandrashekhar Bavankule, held meetings with party workers in Baramati over the last fortnight, ahead of the Union finance minister’s tour.
Baramati is among the 144 key constituencies across five states identified by the BJP top brass as seats the party wants to win in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
A senior functionary from BJP said the party had either come second or lost with a small margin in these constituencies in previous elections. Elaborate planning is underway for all 144 seats, he said, adding that Union ministers are touring each constituency as part of this plan.
Nationalist Congress Party leaders, however, said BJP had made similar attempts even during earlier Lok Sabha elections in Baramati but those were in vain. They added that the residents of Baramati have supported the development work being done by Pawars for many years and would continue to repose their faith in the family.
Pradip Garatkar, Pune district president of the NCP, described visits by BJP leaders as a “waste of time”. “The kind of work Pawar family has done in the constituency is unmatchable. So visits of senior BJP leaders are not going to make a difference. Also, the BJP has no strong voter base here,” he said.
BJP MLC Ram Shinde, who is in charge of the constituency, however, said Baramati is no longer anyone’s bastion.
BJP’s votes have increased in the past two general elections, and in 2024, the party is looking to wrest the seat, he said. “If BJP can win Amethi seat, why not Baramati,” Shinde asked. Amethi in Uttar Pradesh had been considered a Congress bastion as the Gandhis had been winning it since 1980, barring 1998, till 2019, when BJP leader Smriti Irani won.
Shinde added that many villages in Baramati are still water-starved and the road network is not developed. “The sentiments of people are with BJP now,” he added.
Sambhaji Holkar, the president of the NCP’s Baramati town unit, said his party leaders are strongly connected with people in the constituency. “Ajit Pawar holds meeting with party members and tehsil administration every week to take a review of development works. He ensures that every issue of the voter is addressed,” Holkar said.
According to the BJP’s plan, the Union finance minister will hold programmes in all six assembly segments that fall under the Baramati Lok Sabha seat. These include Daund, Indapur, Khadakwasla, Purandar, Bhor and Baramati. She will speak to local BJP leaders and beneficiaries of various Union government schemes.
She was in Pune on Wednesday.
Out of these six assembly segments, Daund and Khadakwasla are already with the BJP.
The party now plans to expand its base in Indapur, where former state cooperation minister Harshawardhan Patil has a stronghold, and also in Purandar, where local sentiments are reportedly against the NCP.
Garatkar, however, alleged that the equation in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections were totally different.
Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule has represented the Baramati Lok Sabha seat since 2009, while his nephew Ajit Pawar has been a member of the state legislative assembly for the last three decades.
In 2014, Mahadev Jankar, the president of the Rashtriya Samaj Party and a senior Dhangar community leader, had given a tough competition to Sule.
In the 2019 general elections, the BJP had fielded Kanchan Kul against Sule.
BJP leaders, however, are yet to reveal candidates from Baramati for the upcoming 2024 elections. A leader from the party said that there will be a strong candidature and the details will be announced at an appropriate time.
“Apart from Baramati, BJP is putting dedicated efforts in 16 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra ahead of the 2024 general elections,” another party leader said. “Each constituency will have strong candidatures.”

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