Gearing up for the assembly polls,the Shiv Sena is now analysing the segment-wise performance of the Sena-BJP candidate in Pune Lok Sabha seat,and also of the MNS,to see the extent of damage Raj Thackerays party has caused it in Pune Lok Sabha constituency,which the Congress won.
Congress leader Suresh Kalmadi retained the Pune seat defeating BJP candidate Anil Shirole by a narrow margin of over 25,000 votes,while Ranjit Shirole of the MNS,which had entered the poll fray for the first time,finished third,bagging over 75,928 votes.
While the MNS is gloating over its performance,the Sena is busy trying to thwart the MNS march ahead of the assembly polls.
Ranjit Shirole,who returned after meeting Raj in Mumbai,said: We are happy with our performance. We are geared up for a better performance in the assembly polls. He added that despite not being taken seriously by many,the MNS put up a good performance and was able to generate confidence in the citizens about the party. The MNS has emerged as the much-needed alternative for voters,especially the Marathi-speaking public. The party also attracted many first-time voters,he said.
It signifies that most Marathi voters who were so far loyal to the Sena,were looking for an alternative and they have found it in the MNS, said Ranjit Shirole.
The Sena,which is blaming the MNS for its rout in Mumbai,is therefore not taking things lightly in Pune.
We have started analysing the Lok Sabha results of the constituency, a senior Sena leader said.
Of the six assembly segments in the Pune Lok Sabha constituency,the Sena traditionally contests the Kothrud,Shivajinagar and Vadgaon Sheri assembly constituencies while partner BJP contests the Kasba Peth,Parvati and Pune Cantonment segments.
The saffron combine has been able to maintain its hold on Kothrud with a lead of 21,087 votes while it lagged in Shivajinagar and Vadgaon Sheri by 11,220 and 21,581 votes respectively. We are analysing the performance of the MNS in these segments, said the Sena leader.
The MNS bagged 12,248 and 10,551 votes in Shivajinagar and Vadgaon Sheri segments that led to Congress gaining from the division of votes at least in Shivajinagar,known as a Sena bastion.
The Sena leader said,We will ensure that our party wins the challenge thrown up by the MNS and that our loyal voters return to the party.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Jawadekar admitted that the MNS had bagged more votes than expected in the Lok Sabha polls and the division of Sena votes had hit the saffron alliance in the state. The BJP will make all efforts to see that the damage caused by MNS in Lok Sabha polls will not be repeated in the assembly polls so that candidates of our alliance win, he said.