The BJP has not only retained its strongholds, but also converted traditional bastions of the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena with a clear mandate for the lotus across the city
The BJP has registered a thumping victory in Pune, winning all eight constituencies in the city and marking a striking change in the local political dynamics.
Not only has the party won by massive margins in its own strongholds, but it has also converted vote banks in constituencies considered as bastions of the Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena.
Girish Bapat shows the victory sign, after he won his fifth term with his highest ever margin yesterday.
Large victory margins
In its homeground in Kasba Peth and Parvati, BJP was leading as soon as counting began on Sunday morning. With 95,583 votes, Parvati MLA Madhuri Misal won yet another term with the highest ever margin in the city – 69,090 votes. She easily defeated the other frontrunners - Shiv Sena’s Sachin Tawre (26,493), NCP city leader, Subhash Jagtap (26,124) and Congress city president, Abhay Chajed (21,907). While Misal was confident she would win, she admits the massive margin has surprised her as well.
BJP MLA Madhuri Misal (Parvati) celebrating her win with her family.
“I was expecting a winning margin of around 40,000 votes. But I am happy that my constituency has given me such a massive lead, which is even more than the margin received by the BJP MP, during the recent Lok Sabha polls from Parvati,” she said.
In Kasba Peth, BJP MLA Girish Bapat won his fifth term yesterday, with his own highest ever margin of 42,272 votes. Despite facing stiff competition, the election proved to be a cake walk for Bapat, who won 73,594 votes, beating Congress’s Rohit Tilak (31,322), MNS candidate, Ravindra Dhangekar (25,998) and NCP’s Deepak Mankar (15,865).
“The state and the city have given a clear mandate to BJP. For all my critics, I want to share that this is my fifth win out of a total of six elections, and this time, the winning margin is my highest ever,” Bapat said.
Pune MP Anil Shirole celebrates BJP’s landslide victory in the city with party workers.
Edging Shiv Sena out
While the party performed well and retained the Parvati and Kasba Peth seats, it also won over Shiv Sena’s traditional seat, Kothrud, with a staggering margin of 64,662 votes. Despite being a new face contesting in an RSS bastion, BJP corporator Medha Kulkarni grabbed 1,00,941 votes to defeat sitting MLA Chandrakant Mokate (Shiv Sena) who got just 36,279 votes.
Perhaps the most thrilling race the city witnessed yesterday, was between BJP’s Jagdish Mulik and Shiv Sena’s Sunil Tingare, in the Vadgaon Sheri constituency, with Mulik winning by just 5,325 votes.
A BJP worker distributes sweets after BJP won in all eight Pune constituencies yesterday. Pics/Shashank Sane
Incidentally, Mulik was behind Tingare all the way till the end of the 19th round, when the margin between the two shrank to 119 votes, with Mulik still behind. However, Mulik then caught up and passed Tingare’s count in the succeeding rounds, with the final tally at 66,908 votes for Mulik and 61,583 for Tingare.
Asked whether he was tensed till the end, Mulik said, “My friends and party workers were hyper and had crossed their fingers. But I told them that the fate was already sealed in the ballot box. Since beginning I was confident about my victory.”
Mulik’s win is noteworthy for two reasons. One, he defeated Vadgaon Sheri’s sitting MLA Bapu Pathare (NCP), who came third in the race with 44,480 votes. Pathare was infamous for running a water tanker business in Vadgaon Sheri, which has been facing water scarcity for several years. Soon after the win, Mulik announced that his first priority was to end the ‘tanker raj’ in the constituency.
The 33-year-old’s victory is also unique because he beat RPI candidate Siddharth Dhende, who has considerable clout in areas such as Yerwada and Nagpur chawl. Rebel candidate, Dhende ignored his party’s alliance with the BHP and contested against Mulik anyway, but only managed to secure 9,216 votes.
In yet another setback to Shiv Sena, BJP candidate, Yogesh Tilekar (82,629) defeated sitting Sena MLA Mahadev Babar (52,381) in Hadapsar.
After recent communal clashes in the area, Babar lost the Muslim community’s support, which was considered his vote bank.
Meanwhile, erstwhile Babar supporter, Pramod Bhangire - who contested on an MNS ticket – further divided Babar’s tally, and secured 25,206 votes.
Congress takes a hit
While speaking to mid-day two days ago, BJP spokesperson for western Maharashtra Shreepad Dhekane did not seem confident of winning the Shivajinagar and Cantonment segments, as both constituencies are known as Congress strongholds. However, in a dramatic victory, BJP candidates defeated both Congress MLAs – Vinayak Nimhan and Ramesh Bagwe respectively. BJP fielded senior party worker, Vijay Kale (56,460) in Shivajinagar, who beat Nimhan by a margin of 20,057 votes.
Similarly, in Cantonment – where a Congress win was assumed - former home minister of state, Bagwe was defeated by BJP’s Dilip Kamble (54,692) with a margin of 14,855 votes. Incidentally, Kamble was also a minister of state (MOS) during the Sena-BJP regime in 1995.
“I am happy that after 1995, BJP has now registered triumph in Cantonment for the first time. Bagwe has not done any work in the constituency and the voters showed him his place,” Kamble said.
In Khadakwasla, BJP MLA Bhimrao Tapkir scored 1,11,531 votes and defeated NCP’s Dilip Barate (48,505) with a massive winning margin of 63,026 votes. Tapkir had won the seat in a by-poll, after the sudden death of Ramesh Wanjale, the MNS candidate who had won the 2009 Assembly polls.
Hence, this time, there were predictions that MNS candidate Raja Laigude might emerge as the dark horse in the race. NCP senior corporator Barate was also a strong opponent, but Tapkir rode the Modi wave to victory anyway.
DILIP KAMBLE BJP 54,692
RAMESH BAGwE Congress 39,737
PARSHURAM WADEKAR Shiv Sena 16,508
GIRISH BAPAT BJP 73,594
DR.ROHIT TILAK Congress 31,322
RAVINDRA DHANGEKAR MNS 25,998
JAGDISH MULiK BJP 66,908
SUNIL TINGARE Shiv Sena 61,583
BAPUSAHEB PATHARE NCP 44,480
BHIMRAO TAPKIR BJP 1,11,531
DILIP BARATE NCP 48,505
RAJABHAU LAYGUDE MNS 34,576
VIJAY KALE BJP 56,460
VINAYAK NIMHAN Congress 34,413
ANIL BHOSALE NCP 24,173
MEDHA KULKARNI BJP 1,00,941
CHANDRAKANT MOKATE Shiv Sena 36,279
BABURAO CHANDERE NCP 28,179
YOGESH TILEKAR BJP 82,629
MAHADEV BABAR Shiv Sena 52,381
CHETAN TUPE NCP 29,947
MADHURI MISAL BJP 95,583
SACHIN TAWARE Shiv Sena 26,493
SUBHASH JAGTAP NCP 26,124