Pune: In a show of strength, BJP bulldozed the opposition - NCP, Congress and estranged ally Shiv Sena - to win all the eight Assembly seats in Pune city.
The party wrested five new seats out of eight while retaining three where all its sitting MLAs won with convincing margins, contrary to expectations of a close fight in view of five-cornered electoral fights following breaking of both the alliances in the state.
BJP supporters celebrating their party's win
Shiv Sena failed to retain two seats it had won in 2009 - the prestigious Kothrud constituency and Hadapsar - where its renominated candidates and sitting MLAs Chandrakant Mokate and Mahadeo Babar lost to their BJP rivals Medha Kulkarni and Yogesh Tilekar, respectively. For the Sena, the defeat in Kothrud, a traditional stronghold of the party since the days of late Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, will hurt the most as Mokate was humbled by Medha Kulkarni by a margin over 45,000 votes.
Congress too suffered setback in its bastion of Pune Cantonment from where its candidate and sitting MLA Ramesh Bagve, a former minister, lost to his BJP rival Dilip Kamble by over 14,000 votes. Another jolt to the party was in Shivajinagar seat where its high profile sitting MLA Vinayak Nimhan, considered a close associate of Narayan Rane, was defeated by BJP's Vijay Kale by over 22,000 votes.
In Parvati constituency, Madhur Misal of BJP crushed Sachin Tawre of the Sena by a massive margin of about 70,000 votes to retain the seat, while the party's another sitting MLA Bhimrao Tapkir humbled his Sena rival Shyamrao Deshpande in Khadakwasla constituency.
BJP's Jagdish Mulik got better of NCP's sitting MLA Bapu Pathare to wrest the Vadgaon-Sheri seat. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) registered its only victory in Pune district's Junnar seat, where its candidate Sharad Sonawane won the election.
BJP MP Anil Shirole, reacting to the results, said it showed that the 'Modi wave' that swept the April Lok Sabha elections was still strong enough to make a clean sweep for the party by winning all the eight seats in Pune city, earlier dominated by Congress and NCP which still rule its civic body.