In our series to help voters make an informed decision, mid-day examines the political dynamics and candidates in the Kasba Peth constituency, where the waning popularity of four-time winner BJP MLA may throw the contest wide open for others
Girish Bapat (BJP), Rohit Tilak (Congress), Ravindra Dhangekar (MNS), Deepak Mankar (NCP), Prashant Badhe (Shiv Sena)
Kasba Peth constituency, which has some of the oldest areas of the city under it, has always been the fortress of BJP, with sitting MLA Girish Bapat winning the seat since 1995. However, in 2009 elections, he realised that he is losing popularity, after his victory margin came down to a meagre 8,162 votes.
Although Bapat has won the seat four times consecutively; he is now facing open opposition from some leaders. The Brahmin community, which was Bapat’s stronghold, may no longer be with him, as the Congress has also decided to field a Brahmin candidate, Rohit Tilak. Votes of the dominant Maratha community, on the other hand, may swing in favour of NCP. MNS’s Ravindra Dhangekar, who gave a tough fight to Bapat last time, is also making a comeback to politics after a short sabbatical. The sizeable Muslim votes may divide between Bapat, Dhangekar and Tilak, which could prove to be the deciding factor.
After the alliance break-up, Shiv Sena had to struggle to find a suitable candidate for this constituency. While they decided to enter corporator Prashant Badhe in the fray, he is not considered a strong player this time.
2,72,743 Total number of voters in the constituency
Number of Voters 54,982
-Former chairman and CEO, PNG Jewellers
Pune is expanding and developing in all directions and infrastructure issues of the area have become crucial. Infrastructure development, therefore, should be the priority of the new government, aside from completing pending work. We have a lot of hope from the upcoming government.
Traffic and waste management have become the biggest issues of the city and neither the citizens, nor the government is bothered about it. The new government should change that attitude and be honest towards their work. Development is important, but it should be in a planned manner.