PUNE: Pune voters reined in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s overconfidence and restricted the party’s win to six seats out of the eight constituencies. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won two seats, while Congress could not open its account in the city.
The BJP was made to struggle by the Opposition for the six seats it won. The BJP had bagged eight seats in the 2014 Assembly polls. This time, the party was overconfident and claimed that it would repeat its performance in the last polls by winning all seats in Pune.
However, Pune voters gave a clear message that the party should not take voters for granted.
The BJP’s work in the past five years in the city weighed on their minds. As a result, two sitting BJP MLAs from Hadapsar and Vadgaon Sheri lost.
NCP’s Chetan Tupe won the Hadapsar seat, while NCP’s Sunil Tingre defeated BJP’s sitting MLA Jagdish Mulik with a margin of 3,975 votes.
Earlier, Tingre had contested on a Shiv Sena ticket and had got the second-highest votes.
Kasba and Kothrud seats were known to the strongholds of the BJP. It retained both the seats. Mayor Mukta Tilak won the Kasba seat. Kasba has got a new face after 25 years. Girish Bapat had won the seats five times in a row. Congress candidate Arvind Shinde lost from Kasba Peth constituency. A Shiv Sena rebel was in the fray from Kasba. Besides,
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had fielded Ajay Shinde.
In Kothrud, BJP State President Chandrakant Patil won despite being criticised as an outsider. However, Patil’s win is not big. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate Kishor Shinde gave a good fight. Hence, Patil’s winning margin was not huge.
In Parvati, BJP city unit President Madhuri Misal won for the third time. She defeated NCP’s Ashwini Kadam. There was speculation that BJP’s inaction after the flash floods in Dhankawadi, Sahakar Nagar and Balaji Nagar (parts of Parvati constituency) would hit the party adversely.
In Shivajinagar constituency, the decision of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to field young Siddharth Shirole paid off. He defeated Congress candidate Datta Bahirat. The BJP had sidelined sitting MLA Vijay Kale and gave chance to Shirole.
In Khadakwasla, sitting MLA Bhimrao Tapkir won the seat with less margin. NCP candidate Sachin Dodke gave a good fight. He was contesting the Assembly elections for the first time. NCP got support from the rural part of the constituency. In urban areas, NCP failed to get sufficient support.
In Pune Cantonment, Congress tried very hard to get a seat. However, first time contesting Assembly polls, BJP’s Sunil Kamble, brother of former minister for state Dilip Kamble won the seat. He defeated senior Congress leader and former minister of state Ramesh Bagwe. There was a difference within BJP, but it couldn’t trouble Kamble.
SENA PLAYS ROLE IN HELPING NCP WIN
Shiv Sena’s disappointment has helped NCP candidates. The BJP refused to give a single seat to Shiv Sena as BJP wanted all eight seats. According to the seat-sharing formula, no party will claim on other parties sitting seats. Therefore, Shiv Sena did not contest a single seat in Pune.
The Sena wanted Hadapsar and Vadgaonsheri constituencies as the party was leading there in the 2014 Assembly polls.
However, the party didn’t get seats. It created unrest. Party workers did not actively participate in BJP’s election campaign.
Hadapsar and Vadgaonsheri were Shiv Sena’s stronghold. According to BJP’s internal sources, Shiv Sena helped NCP candidates which made their win easy.