LokSabha 2019: ‘Winning the battle is not easy but also not impossible’

Kaumudi Kashikar-Gurjar
Saturday, 23 March 2019

Member of Legislative Council and Shiv Sena’s senior leader Dr Neelam Gorhe is working as a coordinator for 6 LS constituencies: Pune, Shirur, Maval, Baramati, Solapur and Madha to ensure the smooth functioning of BJP-Shiv Sena alliance. Gorhe spoke to Kaumudi Kashikar-Gurjar on various issues during the LS election.

- With Parth Pawar contesting the LS election from Maval, NCP leaders will use all their strength in Maval. How do you see this fight?
Winning any battle is not easy. However, it is also not impossible. Our candidate MP Shrirang Barne has raised significant issues during his tenure. He, along with Gautam Chabukswar, ensured that Pimpri-Chinchwad gets the police commissionerate. Similarly, the issue of legalising the properties in the fringe areas of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) was kept pending for several years. The NCP had failed to take it up for several years. When former CM Prithviraj Chavan had once visited the Divisional Commissionerate in 2013, I had raised this issue. I had requested him that a new set of urban development rules be rolled out for properties in fringe areas. But despite this, the NCP failed to resolve this issue. On the contrary, CM Devendra Fadnavis resolved this issue.

Similarly, the NCP’s concern for farmers is like just the love shown by aunt Putana from mythology (Putana breast-fed Lord Krishna with the motive of killing him by poisoning the milk). In the Assembly, the NCP justified the firing on farmers, who were protesting against the pipeline project in Maval. The elected members of the NCP-Congress combine were seen thumping the desks. Parth Pawar comes from a influential political family. He is a young person lacking experience. He cannot even pronounce the name of his party. How would he go in rural parts in his constituency to address issues faced by people? His father has been rejected in both Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation and Maval Panchayat Samiti. So, on what basis will he seek votes? I strongly feel that people will give another chance to the government under PM Modi’s leadership to complete the projects initiated in the past five years.

- Three-time MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil faces a challenge from NCP candidate Dr Amol Kolhe. His speeches are drawing crowds. What strategy is the Shiv Sena planning to counter this stardom?
For us, no candidate is bigger than the party he represents. On the contrary, our candidate has successfully won the elections thrice. He maintains a good rapport with the people from his constituency. He has undertaken several projects like the improvement of the Pune-Nashik highway. Along with MLA Suresh Gore, Adhalrao has ensured that the project-affected get justice while implementing the Bhama-Askhed scheme. More importantly, in the past 18 years, the residents of the Shirur constituency have never faced slightest doubts about who represents them in Lok Sabha. It is a significant achievement for any elected candidate. Considering all these factors, I believe that this battle will be between two unequals. Thus, we expect a landslide victory in Shirur. More importantly, of the six assembly segments in the Shirur Lok Sabha constituency, five are with us. Besides NCP’s MLA Dilip Valse representing Ambegaon, we have Junnar MLA Sharad Sonavane from MNS, who recently joined us, Shiv Sena MLA Suresh Gore from Khed Alandi, BJP’s Baburao Pacharne from Shirur, Mahesh Lande from Bhosari and Yogesh Tilekar from Hadapsar are our MLAs. As Assembly elections were held after Lok Sabha, our strength has grown after the last Lok Sabha elections. Besides, MLA Suresh Gore has got Shiv Sena panels elected at the local self-government levels. We are in power in the Rajgurunagar Municipal Council. I am sure all these factors will work in our favour. 

- It is said that the NCP still enjoys massive support in rural parts of Pune. What is your take on this?
The NCP has held sway in the rural parts for 15 years. However, they have failed to resolve major agrarian issues including ensuring Minimum Support Price (MSP). We must recall that the Swaminathan Committee report was submitted in 2006. However, the UPA had neither fully accepted it nor did they take any action taken on the report. The incident of Maval firing stands as the testimony of NCP’s concern for farmers’ problems. The voters in the rural area are aware of NCP’s superficial love for farmers. Similarly, the NCP’s stand on certain issues of national importance has remained ambivalent. The NCP delayed law against ‘Triple Talaq’ by suggesting that it should be first referred to the joint select committee. Similarly, its stand on the reservation has always remained inconsistent. The NCP had their MLA representing Khed till 2014. They still have their MLA in Ambegaon. Despite this, they have repeatedly failed to address law and order problems in the industrial sector. The sector has repeatedly complained about extortions in Bhosari, Chakan, Rajgurunagar, Maval, Pune, and Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial estates. Similarly, in Pimpri Chinchwad, we have seen how protection was given to anti-social elements possessing illegal weapons. During this period, the home minister belonged to the NCP.

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