Satara bypoll: suspense over Chavan contesting continues

first_imgSenior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, who is being pressed by the top brass of both the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress to contest the Satara Lok Sabha by-election, on Sunday said he would announce his decision in a day or two, even as his supporters urged him to contest the Assembly polls instead.“We will come to a decision in one or two days by taking into account your wishes, by respecting the high command’s opinion as well as my own survey,” the former chief minister said at massive gathering of his supporters in Karad.The meeting had been called to discuss the opinions of Mr. Chavan’s supporters.Earlier, in emphatic representations, the Congressman’s ardent followers unanimously urged him not to contest the Satara by-election but fight and win the Karad South seat in the Assembly polls. “Karad does not wish to be indebted to the ‘kindnesses’ of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State chief Chandrakant Patil,” was the refrain of Mr. Chavan’s supporters.Mr. Chavan said, “My firm bond with Karad began in 1991 … today, our democracy, our Congress party is in danger as the BJP government is out to destroy democracy.”Mr. Chavan represented Karad thrice as MP before being elected as MLA from Karad South in the 2014 Assembly polls.Mr. Chavan accused the State government of breaking opposition parties by either misusing probe agencies or by buying out opposition leaders and MLAs. “The BJP’s plan is impose a dictatorship of a single party. They want to destroy the ideology of the Congress, but ours is the party of ideals … Karad shall be the centre of the renaissance of a new Congress,” Mr. Chavan said.According to a close aide, Mr. Chavan would be entirely dependent on the NCP for help if he chose to contest the Satara by-election, as only the Karad seat is with the Congress at the moment and the district is predominantly an NCP bastion.“Furthermore, Mr. Chavan’s work is prominent in his Assembly constituency, and people have immense respect for him as a person,” he said.Meanwhile, speaking in Mumbai, NCP State president Jayant Patil, too, acknowledged Mr. Chavan’s reluctance to contest the Satara Lok Sabha by-election.“It appears that he [Mr. Chavan] and his supporters are not very enthusiastic about him contesting the bypoll. We are holding discussions with the Congress leaders and will reach a decision soon, perhaps by Monday afternoon,” Mr. Patil said.The Satara Lok Sabha bypoll has been necessitated by the resignation of former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP from Satara, Udayanraje Bhosale, who recently switched alliances to join the BJP. The Election Commission has announced October 21 as the date of the by-election, the same day as the Assembly polls.NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who suggested Mr.Chavan’s name, does not wish to contest the bypoll.last_img