Despite many factors going against him, former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar retained the family bastion of Baramati with comfortable ease. He demolished BJP’s Balasaheb Gawade with a margin of 89,791votes. His winning margin for the 2009 Assembly poll was 1,02,797.
Though Pawars have been representing the constituency in the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabha for nearly 50 years, the fight had become interesting after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a “historic rally” in Baramati, which was attended by more than 3 lakh people. In his speech, Modi had urged the people of Baramati to vote for Gawade to break free of the “ghulami (slavery)” of Pawar family.
Among the other factors working against Ajit Pawar was anti-incumbency, besides his alleged involvement in large-scale corruption in irrigation projects. The desertion of the Dhangar community — once a trusted vote bank of the Pawars — only added to his worries. Of the 3.5 lakh voters in the constituency, nearly 90,000 belong to the Dhangar community, which was unhappy with the NCP-Congress government for not giving a favourable response to its demand for inclusion in the Scheduled Tribe category. Compounding Pawar’s problems, the BJP had given ticket to a Dhangar leader.
Pawar family spokesperson Kiran Gujar said by voting for Ajit, the people of Baramati had proved once again that they trusted the family completely and did not fall prey to “false propaganda”. “Though Narendra Modi held a rally here, the overwhelming majority that Ajit Dada got shows that it did not have any impact in Baramati,” said Gujar.
According to him, the Dhangar voters did not support Gawade at all.
Baramati had cast 71 per cent votes this time — 6 per cent higher than the 2009 Assembly polls.