In the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) though Mayor Mohansingh Rajpal and Deputy Mayor Rajlaxmi Bhosale were defeated,it was a different story in PCMC jurisdiction. Both Mayor Yogesh Behl and Deputy Mayor Hiranand (Dabbu) Aswani romped home with good margin of votes. Both belong to NCP which swept to power in Pimpri-Chinchwad winning 83 wards out of 128.
In Sant Tukaram Nagar ward where Mayor Behl contested and in Ashok Theatre ward of Pimpri from where Deputy Mayor Aswani contested,it was widely believed that the contests would be a close one. Reason: the rivals had proven credentials of winning the election. However,it all tapered into no contests as both Behl and Aswani trounced their rivals with comfortable margins. While Behl won by a margin of 2,300 votes,Aswani defeated Congress strongman Amar Mulchandani by 3,000 votes.
The Mayor was contesting against Yashwant Bhosale,a rebel NCP corporator. Behl had defeated Bhosale twice in the past when he was a Congress candidate. This time Bhosale had started campaigning at least six months in advance in view of Behl’s popularity in Sant Tukaram Nagar. “However,it all came to a nought. I could not win against the money power of the mayor,” said Bhosale. He also accuses the mayor of using strong arm tactis by threatening his supporters. The mayor,however,rubbishes Bhosale’s claims. “I had said from the beginning that I will win with ease. And I won…,” said Behl,who has won from the same area for the fifth consecutive.
The mayor said he has always remained at the beck and call of his voters. “Ask any voter in my area…Have I ever refused their work or any requests. Whatever help voters or people from my area need I am ready to reach out to them. And I don’t mind whichever party they belong to. That’s why people cutting across party lines vote for me,” he said. Dr Seema Valekar,a resident,says,”The mayor works for people and that’s his strong point.”
In Pimpri,Aswani had told this paper that he had predicted his victory by 3,000 votes which came true. “My guess was based on my proximity with voters and their affection for me. The voters in Pimpri identity themselves with me,” he said. The deputy mayor said he had fervently appealed to voters to “root out corruption” from Pimpri. “And I am glad they have responded positively,” he said.
Aswani said while he was always ready to help people,his opponent Mulchandani was inaccessible to people. The Mulchandani camp accused the deputy mayor of misusing his position and creating fear psychosis among voters.