With just a few hours to go before their electoral fate is revealed, the candidates of all parties in Shirur, Pune, Baramati and Maval seemed to be composed on Thursday. Many of them preferred to stay put at home rather than venturing out or indulging in speculation about the poll outcome.
It was a usual day for sitting MP and NCP candidate from Baramati Supriya Sule. With daylong meetings with party workers and leaders revolving largely around the strategy post Friday, Sule remained in Mumbai office of the NCP.
A devotee of Pandharpur Vithoba, faith and luck did not seem to dominate the minds of Sule camp. “The question with Tai (Sule) is not whether she will win. It is about what margin she would win with. Yes, we are curious about how NCP fares, especially in the backdrop of the exit polls that are predicting all sorts of results. But a visit to Pandharpur may be on cards only post the results,” said Nilesh Raut, state president of the Nationalist Student Congress. He said it was “really a routine day” for her without even a call from her father and NCP chief Sharad Pawar or other well-wishers to wish good luck for the big day.
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Sule has no plans to turn up at the counting venue on Friday. “She will be in Mumbai looking at the overall picture. A Pune visit is scheduled on May 19,” Raut said.
BJP’s Pune candidate Anil Shirole was away from the city for some personal work throughout the day. He said he would reach the city by evening and hold a meeting with the polling agents who would accompany him to the FCI godown on Friday. A temple visit too is on the agenda, according to the schedule planned out by his wife. “Once I am back in the evening, I would first hold the meeting and then proceed for some ‘dev darshan’.” said Shirole.
On Thursday, Congress candidate Vishwajeet Kadam offered prayers at a Ganesh temple in the city and reviewed the preparations of the party for appointing the counting agent. In the evening, he visited the Dagdusheth Ganesh temple and Akhil Mandai Ganesh temple, before rushing to attend a wedding ceremony. “Select party leaders were briefed on the ways counting should be tracked. The workers have been asked to be at the party headquarters,” said Kadam.
Maval constituency witnessed a bitter contest between traditional rivals Laxman Jagtap and Shrirang Barne, but a day before the counting, the two rivals did not sound worked up. “There is absolutely no reason for me to be tense,” said Jagtap, who was fielded by the Peasants and Workers Party and supported by the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. Barne seemed to be equally calm. “I don’t take tension, but make people tense,” he said. While Barne took a week’s off from Pimpri-Chinchwad to holiday in Hong Kong, Jagtap too when out of station, but only to rush back after the Bombay High Court ruled that the Sangvi school he was associated with should be demolished. Both Jagtap and Barne are confident of victory.
While Jagtap said he would win by “over 1 lakh votes”, Barne said his winning margin would be “70,000-plus votes”. Jagtap said he would make it to the counting centre around noon, while Barne said he would be there from 11 am.
Sitting Shiv Sena MP from Shirur Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil appeared confident about his win and said he had stayed at home on Thursday.
Patil had plans to attend the training session for his supporters who would be on counting duty. Asked if he has visited temples or sought divine favours, Patil said his wife had done so.
Like Patil, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Pune Subhash Ware too stayed at home on Thursday. “For the last few days, I have not been keeping well so I have been staying at home. In the evenings, I will go out to meet my supporters who would be acting as counting agents,” he said.
Former Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer Arun Bhatia, who contested the Pune Lok Sabha election for the third time, said his entire team was going to have celebrations on the eve of the election results. “We have decided to have a get-together where we plan to celebrate our efforts as a team.” He added: “Now that the results of the exit polls are out, we are waiting for the actual results.”
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate Deepak Paigude was busy talking to party workers on phone and meeting some of them personally at his residence to check up whether arrangements like issuing of identity cards for counting day were in place. There was no formal meeting at the city office of the MNS. “We are waiting for the results now. But there is nothing to feel nervous. All the routine work related to my Lokseva Parivar is also going on today,” he said.