The BJP juggernaut in Pune slowed down on Thursday, when the Assembly poll results revealed that the NCP had managed to win two of the eight seats in the city. While the BJP, which had won all eight seats in the 2014 Assembly polls, managed to retain six seats, it saw a close contest in three of them.
The results are a significant setback for BJP, which refused to part with a single seat in the city for its ally Shiv Sena, banking on its performance in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year, when party leader Girish Bapat won the Pune seat by a record margin of 3.24 lakh votes.
The NCP won in Hadapsar, where party’s city chief Chetan Tupe defeated sitting BJP legislator Yogesh Tilekar, and in Vadgaonsheri, where NCP candidate Sunil Tingre defeated sitting MLA Jagdish Mulik.
The BJP fared better in Parvati, where sitting legislator and city BJP chief Madhuri Misal defeated NCP candidate Ashwini Kadam. BJP MLA Bhimrao Tapkir won, but only by a narrow margin, in Khadakwasla, beating NCP’s Sachin Dodke. With their wins, both Misal and Tapkir will serve their third consecutive term in the state assembly.
While the BJP’s decision to replace some of the sitting MLAs had triggered dissent within the party, the move paid off as all four new faces won the Assembly polls in their very first attempt.
Among them were Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak (Kasba), Sunil Kamble (Pune Cantonment), Siddharth Shirole (Shivajinagar) and Chandrakant Patil (Kothrud).
Kamble and Shirole both won by narrow margins of about 5,000 votes.
Patil’s victory will come as a major relief for the BJP, which had fielded its state party chief from Kothrud after replacing MLA and popular leader Medha Kulkarni. In what turned out to be a ‘prestige fight’ for the BJP, Patil was pitted against MNS leader Kishore Shinde, who was supported by both the NCP and Congress. Patil defeated Shinde by nearly 25,000 votes.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines