Raju Shetty, Vinod Kambli launch political front
PUNE: The Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana MP from Kolhapur Raju Shetty, former cricketer Vinod Kambli, MLC Kapil Patil and others representing political parties and social organisations on Friday announced the formation of a political front to contest all 288 seats in the Maharashtra state assembly elections.
Addressing a press conference, Kumar Saptarishi, president of the Yuvak Kranti Dal (YKD) said, “The YKD, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, Rashtriya Samaj Party, Lokbharati, Lok Janshakti party, Vasai Sangharsh Samiti and Prahar Sanghatana have joined hands to form a political front. We would like left and Republican Parties to join us.”
Vinod Kambli, who is also vice-president of Lokbharati, said, “We want to give a strong political option to the existing parties in the state. People want a change and fresh politicians who can solve their problems. We will strengthen the front across the state.”
According to MP Raju Shetty, “We have joined hands to oppose the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the BJP-Shiv Sena. We want to highlight the problems faced by farmers, Dalits and unorganised workers.” He added that independent MP Sadashivrao Mandlik from Kolhapur had also joined the front.
MLC Kapil Patil said, “We hope other parties like the Peasants and Workers Party and the communist parties join the effort. We are holding talks with them.”
The front will contest all 288 seats, said Saptarishi and denied any possibility of a tie-up with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. “The official manifesto for the elections will be published soon,” he said.
When asked if the controversy over his statement on the reality show Sach Ka Samna’ had settled down, Vinod Kambli said, “Yes, things are settled now.”
“I will contest the election if the people want me to do so. I have met people in Mumbai who have responded enthusiastically,” he said, speaking to TOI. When asked if he would seek Sachin’s help for the election campaign Kambli said, “Why not, after all he is my friend. Already many other friends like Azhar have joined politics. Politicians have entered cricket and now cricketers are joining politics. I will definitely seek help from my cricketer friends,” said Kambli.
On the reality show, Vinod had confessed that he had not received enough help from Sachin during bad times in his cricket career.
MLC Kapil Patil, president of the Lokbharati Party of which Vinod is vice-president, told TOI, “We have identified three assembly constituencies in Mumbai from where Vinod could contest. People from these constituencies have communicated with us and we are checking other factors before finalising the constituency. We don’t want to name the constituencies as of now, but you will surely see Vinod in the next Maharashtra assembly.”