Kokate bows to party order, announces support to Bhujbal
After the meeting between Congress and NCP leaders at Sinnar, Congress MLA Manikrao Kokate bowed before party order and announced his support to NCP Lok Sabha candidate and PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal who is contesting elections from Nashik LS constituency.
A marathon meeting of Mr Kokate's supporters was held in Sinnar city last night.
The Congress had sent minister Balasaheb Thorat to pacify the senior MLA. This decision was announced in the presence of Thorat, ex-minister Vinayakdada Patil, ex-minister TS Dighole and others.
Mr Kokate is known to be close to Industries Minister Narayan Rane. His opposition to Mr Bhujbal's candidature was said to be a rejoinder to NCP which allegedly refused to support Rane in Sindhudurg.
MLA Manikrao Kokate had said that, the issue was not serious as made out.
'We have some differences on political issues but they will be resolved in discussions. This is not a dissident activity as it is made out to be,' Mr Kokate had stated.
Congress activites of Sinnar taluka are not supporting Mr Bhujbal because, NCP leaders and activitists in Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri are not supporting Narayan Rane' son Dr Nilesh Rane. The reality behind the fight is to increase each party's political dominace in Sinnar taluka.
Mr Kokate needs Mr Bhujbal's help to resolve some development work issues in the Sinnar constituency. These isses can create trouble for Mr Kokate's political career in the coming future, and thus he had laid down some terms and conditions in front of Bhujbal to prevent these happenings. Following this, Kokate's supporters had decided not to canvass for Bhujbal until these issues were solved.
A few days back, Sinnar Panchayat Samiti Chairman Balasaheb Wagh, close aide of Mr Kokate, had appeared on stage with Shiv Sena candidate Hemant Godse and appealed to people to vote for Godse.
He clarified that he was helping Godse because of friendship and was willing to sacrifice his posts and chairmanship.
During the 2009 elections, Mr Godse contested on a MNS ticket and lost narrowly to Sameer Bhujbal of NCP. He joined the Shiv Sena last year and was given a ticket.
Mr Godse belongs to the majority Maratha community and has relatives throughout the district. During the 2009 elections, the Maratha vote was split between Godse and Sena candidate Datta Gaikwad, sources said.
He has completed one round of all the rural areas of the constituency and will begin in the urban areas next week.
Mr Bhujbal has completed one round of all urban areas, including the three legislative constituencies in Nashik City, and has now began campaigning in rural areas.
(Posted on 16-04-2014)