Kalmadi in troubled waters, rivals ready to make a 'splash'

Suresh Kalmadi

Framing of charges demoralises Kalmadi supporters, raises hopes of Cong ticket-seekers

Framing of charges against Pune city MP Suresh Kalmadi for alleged loss of Rs 90 crore in one of the cases related to the Commonwealth Games (CWG) has further demoralised Kalmadi supporters in the Congress city unit pouring cold water on their plans to try and fight for the suspended leader's return to the party and recommend that the party ticket for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls be given to him. The framing of charges, on the other hand, has come as a shot in the arm for Kalmadi rivals, particularly those in the party hoping for the party ticket for the polls.

A Congress corporator known to be a staunch supporter of Kalmadi said, "Kalmadi led the party from the front in the city. However, corruption charges against him and his suspension from the party disappointed his supporters who are large in numbers in the city unit. Now, the framing of charges has further demoralised supporters."

He said that many leaders in the party and supporters of Kalmadi had recently come together to recommend his name to the party observer for the ticket to the next Lok Sabha polls. "The developments are going against our wishes," the corporator said.

Meanwhile, the number of aspirants for Congress ticket in the city is increasing.

MLC Mohan Joshi, former MLAs Chandrakant Chhajed and Balasaheb Shivarkar, deputy mayor Deepak Mankar, and spokesperson Anant Gadgil are making efforts to get the ticket and have started preparations. Sharad Ranpise is another contender. "The city unit had suffered a lot due to the bad name the city MP brought it. Thus, the only way to restore the party's dignity is to give the ticket to a loyal and committed party leader," said Shivarkar.

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