One of the fiercest electoral fights in Maharashtra this year took place in Baramati Lok Sabha constituency, where both the Pawar family and senior BJP leaders mounted an aggressive campaign and used every opportunity to take potshots at each other. While this was a prestige issue for NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his family — the former Union minister had represented Baramati for decades before making way for his daughter and sitting MP Supriya Sule — BJP chief Amit Shah made it clear that his party, too, was intent on winning from the Lok Sabha seat, if only to send the message that the Pawars could be defeated even in their indisputable stronghold.
The high-pitched campaign by both parties did manage to bring more voters to the polling booths, with Baramati being one of the few Lok Sabha seats where the voter turnout increased this year to 61.54 per cent, over 2 per cent more than the 58.81 per cent turnout in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. A total of 12,99,792 votes were polled in Baramati on Tuesday as against the 10,52,340 votes polled in the 2014 elections.
According to figures given by the Election Commission, as many as 2.47 lakh more people voted this year in Baramati, which went to polls on Tuesday in the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections, as compared to the 2014 elections. The majority of them, nearly 1.5 lakh, voted in the Khadakwasla, Purandar and Daund assembly segments, considered to be the stronghold of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, while 97,000 more voters turned out in Baramati, Indapur, and Bhor, bastions of the NCP-Congress alliance.
These numbers are significant as in the 2014 elections, Sule had won her second term in Parliament by a margin of only 70,000 votes after defeating Rashtriya Samaj Paksha chief Mahadev Jankar, who was the Sena-BJP candidate.
The maximum voting took place in Khadakwasla assembly segment, with 2,51,606 votes, 61,000 more than the votes cast in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Khadakwasla is considered to be the stronghold of the BJP. The second highest votes were polled in Baramati town assembly segment — 2,38,283 — and the Pawar bastion also saw an impressive turnout of 70.24. The number of votes cast here was 31,000 more than the votes polled in 2014.
Bhor assembly segment, a Congress bastion that voted decidedly for Sule in 2014, saw 2,15,719 votes polled, 48,000 more compared to the 2014 elections. The Purandar assembly segment, most of which voted for Jankar in 2014, saw 2,10,396 votes being polled on Tuesday — 50,000 more than the 2014 elections.
In the Congress bastion of Indapur assembly segment, the total polling was 1,94,572, which is 29,000 more than the number of votes polled in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Daund assembly segment, represented by Rahul Kul, husband of BJP’s Baramati candidate Kanchan Kul, saw almost 40,000 more people cast their votes compared to the 2014 elections. A total of 1,89,216 votes were polled in the segment.