PUNE: April saw voters Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad turn up for Lok Sabha elections on April 23 and April 29.
And then again on October 21, the State Assembly elections were held. With these two power tests, the political fabric of Pune saw some major changes as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) influence could be seen waning, while Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) bounced back in the city.
BJP and NCP were very active throughout the year in the city, whereas Shiv Sena and Congress did not show much enthusiasm.
Political machinery worked overtime when NCP senior leader Ajit Pawar claimed a stake on Pune Lok Sabha seat - even Sharad Pawar’s name was there in the list of candidates. However, after Pawar denied that he is contesting, the discussion stopped.
NCP’s third generation candidate from Pawar family, Parth Pawar’s campaign from Maval constituency was keenly followed by everyone.
Unfortunately, Parth lost the seat.
Everyone will remember how the Congress Party took too much time to announce the name of Lok Sabha candidates. BJP made mileage of the delay and announced Girish Bapat’s candidature who eventually won the Lok Sabha seat.
Lok Sabha polls witnessed another Modi wave and everyone was expecting BJP’s clear win in State Assembly polls as well.
In State Assembly elections in October, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar took charge of the campaign and the scenario changed.
The party won two seats in Assembly polls in Pune out of eight.
NCP and Congress gave chance to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in Kothrud against BJP State President Chandrakant Patil. BJP sidelined sitting MLA Medha Kulkarni and gave ticket to Patil in Kothrud. Kothrud State Assembly election was one of the most discussed seats in the State. However, the MNS failed to create history in Kothrud and Patil won the seat.
Shiv Sena was under pressure in the city. The party could not show presence in the city despite being BJP’s alliance partner in the State government. BJP contested all eight seats in the Assembly polls and did not give a single seat to alliance partner Shiv Sena.