First-term corporators to try their luck again
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While some bigwigs in Pimpri-Chinchwad poll terrain are eying either a record sixth, fifth or fourth term, several sitting corporators are looking forward to their second term. These corporators hail from across the industrial town and from all parties. "We deserve another term," said one of them.
Javed Shaikh, described as the enfant terrible of NCP, has again sought NCP ticket from Duttwadi-Akurdi area. In the previous elections, he was elected from Taljaivasti-Akurdi area.
In fact, Shaikh had created a record of sorts as he was elected to the PCMC unopposed. This time, however, Shaikh, known for his strong-arm tactics, is posing confidence in his voters. "No unopposed election for me this time. I am seeking votes for widening roads in congested Akurdi area. The road works had remained pending for 15 years. Besides, I have helped PCMC take possession of the land reserved in the development plan," he claimed. However, Shaikh's public spat with party colleagues, the Shetty brothers, and his subsequent externment will make going tough for him, say political observers. "We are not worried...people know who can bring about development in Akurdi," says Iklas, a supporter of Shaikh.
In the previous elections, Maruti Bhapkar was elected as an Independent corporator to PCMC. His election was said to be a "model one" as he hardly splurged any money. "Neither did he use goons to threaten voters," says activist Manav Kamble. "Besides, he was pitted against bigwigs from the NCP and the Shiv Sena who were known for their money and muscle power."
Bhapkar has decided to contest the election for the second time as an Independent. However, unlike the last time when he contested from an open seat, Bhapkar is likely to fight from an OBC seat as his Mohannagar ward has become a reserved one. "I am ready to contest for the second time. But I have set a condition for myself. I will contest only after my Kunbhi caste certificate his validated by the committee set up by the state government. If this happens before elections, I will contest. Otherwise, I will be out of the fray," he said.
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