Aware of the close contest that is the hallmark of the general elections, the candidates for the Pune Lok Sabha did not sit back after voting day but continued to make their presence felt ion the city by leading separate protests at the collectorate over the alleged deletion of many voters from the electoral rolls. All the candidates sought that the collector conduct an inquiry into the issue and ensure that ‘missing’ voters get a chance to exercise their franchise.
The contest for the Pune Lok Sabha seat also has more importance as it is considered as a gateway to western Maharashtra. Among the top leaders that campaigned for candidates of their respective parties were Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, while NCP chief Sharad Pawar, too, held a series of rallies for the Congress candidate. MNS chief Raj Thackeray held the maximum number of election rallies, AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Medha Patkar, too, participated in the poll campaign for its candidate.
However, the increase in turnout has kept all the candidates guessing over the result. The voting per cent was 54.24 per cent as against 40.66 per cent in the previous elections. “The rise in turnout means people are looking to bring about change. People are impressed with the good work done by Modi in Gujarat and so they voted to ensure that the BJP candidate wins,” said a BJP leader.
The Congress is hopeful of a win owing to a good turnout in areas that has been stronghold of the party for long. “The maximum voting has been from Vadgaonsheri and Pune Cantonment assembly segment, which have traditionally voted for Congress. The voting in other assembly segments also improved but the MNS and AAP candidates are likely to hamper the chances of BJP,” said Congress worker.
The MNS also put up a confident face. “The party made an aggressive leader contest the Pune seat so that voters looking for change would prefer him over others. This time, young voters were large in number so the MNS definitely stands a chance,” said an MNS leader.
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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), too, is confident of a win due to its ‘hard work in election campaign’. “We are the only party that has supporters in all sections of society. This will be reflected in the result,” said an AAP member.