Traditionally, the area covered by the Vadgaonsheri assembly constituency has been a stronghold of the NCP, and almost 20 of the 24 Pune Municipal Corporation corporators in the six panels under the assembly constituency are from the party.
However, this picture may change soon, as the BJP is poised to give a tough fight with the NCP in this assembly area.
Vadgaonsheri compromises developed areas such as Viman Nagar and posh areas such as Kalyani Nagar and Koregaon Park. The electoral panels also include sizeable slum pockets like Nagpur chawl and other areas.
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One of the biggest issues here is traffic congestion along the Pune-Ahmednagar Road, and corporators from the area have been vocal about it in the outgoing PMC’s general body.
The area has also seen its fair share of development, such as IT parks, but civic amenities have failed to keep up with these changes.
Bapusaheb Pathare, a senior leader from NCP, had been elected twice from the area, but he was defeated by a relatively younger candidate, Jagdish Mulik, in the 2014 elections.
Pathare’s wife and several of his relatives are sitting corporators from this area.
Mulik, the youngest MLA from Pune, and his brother Yogesh are among the few BJP candidates who managed to win in the NCP stronghold.
Even in this area, the NCP has been plagued by the defections of several high-profile leaders, including Bapu Karne, a former chairman of the Standing Committee, who joined the BJP.
Rajendra Bagaskar and his wife Vanita are the sitting corporators from elite Koregaon Park. Leaders from a resurgent BJP are confident of putting up a strong fight, as they point to the presence of a large number of housing societies and 40 per cent migrant population which, they hope, will act in their favour.
However NCP leaders say they will retain their presence in this area, thanks to the reachout work they have carried out since the assembly elections. “It will all depend on the turnout… a higher turnout, especially in the societies, will mean an advantage for the BJP,” said a senior NCP leader.