Pune: This year, the BJP achieved another landmark after winning civic polls with a clear majority in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, ending the 10-year reign of the NCP.
Pune is the second most populated city in the State and the BJP's success here is considered to be a big victory for the party. However, political analysts criticised the party for managing this win with the help of imported candidates from other parties.
The year also witnessed the further fall of former Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi and NCP leader Ajit Pawar. This fall for the Congress had started with BJP candidate Anil Shirole winning the Lok Sabha seat from Pune city in 2014. Later in 2014, with the Narendra Modi wave, the BJP managed to bag all eight assembly seats.
Earlier, the NCP and Congress were in power in PMC, whereas in PCMC, NCP was in power on its own. Even though Pimpri-Chinchwad witnessed significant development under NCP's rule, the party could not save its bastion. This was possible due to BJP's aggressive campaigning strategy that targeted NCP leaders for corruption. Interestingly, former NCP man Mahesh Landge, who was elected as an independent candidate in 2014 assembly polls, formally joined the BJP just before the civic polls. Another former NCP man, MLA Laxman Jagtap, too joined BJP before 2014. Both of them successfully flashed the 'son of soil' card against the NCP rule, which they claimed was being controlled from Baramati.
In Pune city, BJP won 98 of the 162 seats. Among PCMC's 128 seats, BJP won 77. Interestingly, during the 2012 elections, BJP had won 26 seats in the PMC and only three seats in PCMC. To take on NCP by the horns, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis himself had led the BJP campaign. On the other hand, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Kakde and party legislator Laxman Jagtap were given the specific task of inducting disgruntled leaders from other parties to BJP.
Due to this, NCP could only win 38 seats in PMC and 36 in PCMC. In 2012, NCP had emerged the single largest party by winning 51 and 83 seats in PMC and PCMC respectively.
However, NCP could successfully retain its base in rural parts of the district by retaining power in Pune Zilla Parishad.
Even after coming to power, the hurdles before BJP have not minimised. The party that won both the elections is currently dealing with infighting between newcomers and old loyalists.
There are two factions in the BJP, which are competing against each other for getting hold of the daily affairs in the PMC. In Pimpri Chinchwad, the leaders have successfully avoided bitter rivalry between loyalists and new joiners, but the same has become a daily norm in PMC.