May 18, 2009 11:15:23 pm
The Congress has managed to retain its bastion by defeating the BJP in the Pune Lok Sabha constituency,but the segmentwise performance leaves enough reason for cheer in the camp of the saffron party.
Keeping its hopes alive for the assembly polls to be held about four months away,the BJP candidate has performed better than the winner in at least three of the six assembly segments.
This despite the division of votes due to the presence of an MNS candidate and the BSP’s Brahmin candidate.
For Suresh Kalmadi,the victory comes as a shot in the arm. He won the Pune seat for the third time,equalling the record of his party leader,late Vithalrao Gadgil,despite opposition from within the party and even its alliance partner.
He won by a margin of just over 25,701 votes over BJP’s Anil Shirole.
If it was bureaucrat-turned-politician Arun Bhatia who caught attention by bagging 60,000 votes in 2004,this time it was Ranjit Shirole of the MNS and the BSPsD S Kulkarni who made their mark to an extent that they could well be considered the deciders in 2009.
MNS candidate Shirole,a Maratha who shared his surname with the BJP candidate,bagged 75,928 votes while Kulkarni,the Brahmin candidate of the BSP,secured 62,981 votes.
Though BJP candidate Anil Shirole does not attribute his loss to any other party,both the MNS and BSP have actually secured more votes of the saffron alliance than that of Congress.
In the Sena-BJP stronghold of Kasba assembly segment,the MNS reduced the lead margin of the BJP from the Congress by bagging 15,205 votes while Kulkarni grabbed 6,919 votes in his home segment.
The BJP notched up 56,593 votes,a lead of 8,498 from the Congress.
The BJP has been worst-hit in its bastion,Kothrud assembly segment,where the MNS managed to grab 18,515 votes limiting the BJP lead to 21,087 votes in the segment. It,however,managed to take a lead of 4,553 votes in Parvati assembly segment,a seat held by Congress MLA Ramesh Bagwe.
On the other hand,in the Shivajinagar assembly segment which a Shiv Sena bastion,the Congress left BJP behind by 11,220 votes and the MNS and BSP bagged 12,248 and 12,074 votes respectively.
The Congress victory was sealed in its bastions,Wadgaonsheri and Pune Cantonment assembly segments,where it secured a solid lead of 21,581 and 27,084 votes respectively.
These are the assembly segments that proved decisive in the Congress victory as its candidate bagged over 50,000 votes.
In these segments,the MNS candidate fared poorly as compared to the other assembly segments.
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