Former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar managed to retain control over the important Pune District Central Cooperative Bank (PDCC), after his panel managed to win 20 out of the 21 positions in the board of directors of the bank in the elections held recently. The results, which were declared on Wednesday, also saw Balasaheb Nevale defeating the official NCP candidate in Maval by a slim margin of two votes.
The PDCC, by virtue of its position as the apex cooperative bank in the district, has been important for political and social control, especially in the rural areas. Ajit Pawar has long held the reins of the bank.
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However, the recent change of power in the state government had fueled the BJP-Shiv Sena’s hopes of winning over control of the bank from Pawar. In fact, district guardian minister Girish Bapat had even conducted tours across the district campaiging for BJP. But their hopes were dashed, as other than in Maval, Pawar’s panel managed to win in all seats.
Sitting MLA Dattatreya Bharne and MLC Anil Bhosale are amongst the successful candidates. In Maval, NCP rebel candidate Balasaheb Nevale managed to win the elections with a wafer-thin margin of two votes. Nevale is supposed to be a close confidant of Pawar.
Of the 21 directors, 13 were to be elected from the primary agricultural credit societies (PAC)s who formed the group A of voters. Seven of the seats saw NCP candidates getting elected unopposed.
In group B, C D and the five reserved seats, NCP candidates managed to win with comfortable margins. Pawar defeated his nearest rival Vilas Kakade by a margin of 166 votes.
Senior officers of the cooperative department said the victory of Pawar’s panel was almost a foregone conclusion as the electorate itself was made up of long-time NCP supporters.
“The PACs or the other societies who participate in the election are mostly long-time supporters of the people who have started the banks. Thus it would take a lot to upset the apple cart,” they said.