PUNE: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Chandrakant Patil had claimed that he would win with over one lakh margin in the Kothrud constituency. However, the margin was just 25,495 votes, which is less than the margin, with which former BJP MLA Medha Kulkarni had won in Kothrud. She won the seat with a margin of 64,662 votes in 2014 assembly polls.
The Kothrud assembly segment was one of the most discussed tussles in the state as BJP fielded its state president Chandrakant Patil, who is a native of Kolhapur district. This triggered the controversy that an outsider was imported by the BJP in Kothrud against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) native Kishor Shinde.
Following BJP’s denial of ticket to sitting MLA Medha Kulkarni, there was unrest among Kulkarni’s supporters. Shiv Sena also staked a claim on the seat. Shiv Sena was unhappy with seat-sharing in Pune as it did not get a single seat in the city.
On polling day, Patil claimed that he would win the seat with a margin of 1.60 lakh. However, his claims were misplaced. Patil won with a margin of 25,495 votes. He got 1,05,246 votes. Shinde got 79,751 votes.
The Congress-NCP alliance had supported Shinde. The Akhil Bharatiya Brahman Mahasangh had objected to Patil’s candidature as he was not a native of Kothrud. However, they later relented. MNS Chief Raj Thackeray conducted a rally in Kothrud and raised the outsider issue.
Patil got less margin as compared to BJP’s former MLA of Kothrud Medha Kulkarni. In the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections, Medha Kulkarni won this seat by defeating Shiv Sena’s Chandrakant Mokate with a margin of 64,662 votes. BJP and Shiv Sena had contested polls separately in 2014.
In the 2014 assembly elections, Kulkarni had polled 32.77 per cent of the total votes. In the 2019 state Assembly elections, the turnout was 48.17 percent in Kothrud. In 2014, it was 56.57 per cent while it was 46.37 per cent in 2009. The turnout in 2019 was 8.4 per cent less as compared to that of 2014.