BJP candidate not final yet, but hopefuls start reaching out to voters

The party is yet to announce any candidate from Pune district. (File)

The BJP is yet to declare its candidate for the Pune Lok Sabha seat but that has not stopped hopeful leaders from kicking off their campaigns unofficially and reaching out to voters.

Aspirants for the ticket include sitting MP Anil Shirole, Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, city BJP chief Yogesh Gogawale and party corporator Murlidhar Mohol. Among these candidates, Bapat has made his presence felt in the election season as he has held meetings with prominent residents of the city, organised a get-together of party corporators and visited media houses to gift a copy of his book 'Changing Pune, Changing Maharashtra'. Click here for more election stories

Since 2014, when Shirole won the Pune Lok Sabha seat, the BJP has consolidated its political hold of the city, winning all eight seats in the assembly elections and coming to power in the Pune Municipal Corporation and neighbouring Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation.

Making it clear that he wants to be nominated for the Pune Lok Sabha seat, Shirole started his efforts early and organised a get together of party workers and prominent personalities a month ago. He has also been reaching out to residential societies and recently made his 'performance report' public.

Congress hopefuls for the party ticket from Pune, meanwhile, have not quite hit the campaign trail yet. Party leaders Abhay Chhajed and Mohan Joshi have already staked claim for the party ticket, but they have to fend off competition from other contenders including party corporator Arvind Shinde, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakade and former Sambhaji Brigade leader Pravin Gaikwad.

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All the aspirants have been lobbying in Delhi for the party ticket but senior Congress leaders are yet to select a final candidate for the crucial seat.

"The actual election campaign will begin only after the party candidate is declared for the Pune seat. We are presently dealing with management for booth-level representatives," said a Congress leader.