Party hopping might have been the flavour of this election cycle in Maharashtra but it appeared not to have gone down well with voters as nearly 16 out of the 31 turncoats tasted defeat.
Among those who failed the test are seven sitting legislators and former ministers Jaidutta Kshirsagar, Harshavardhan Patil, Dilip Sopal, Vaibhav Pichad, Nirmala Gavit, Anil Gote, Pandurang Barora, Bhausaheb Kamble and Vilas Tare – all of whom had walked over to join the ruling side in the run-up to the Assembly polls. Even rallies by the BJP and Shiv Sena’s star campaigners in their constituencies failed to benefit them.
At the same time 12 other sitting legislators, who had also jumped parties, including former Leader of Opposition (Assembly) Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Gopaldas Aggarwal, Kalidas Kolambkar, Bharat Bhalke, Jaykumar Gore, Kanshiram Pawara, Nitesh Rane, Abdul Sattar, Shivendraraje Bhosle, Bhaskar Jadhav and Namita Mundada, have been re-elected.
In Beed, Jaidutta Kshirsagar, a senior minister in the previous Congress-NCP government who had switched to the Shiv Sena after the Lok Sabha election, lost by a narrow margin to his nephew Sandeep, the NCP’s nominee.
Vaibhav Pichad, another NCP legislator and son of former Maharashtra NCP president Madhukar Pichad, who had joined the BJP lost from Akole. NCP president Sharad Pawar had campaigned aggressively against Pichad and the Opposition had put up a united front against him. He lost to Dr Kiran Lahamte of the NCP by 57,689 votes.
In Indapur, former Congress minister Harshavardhan Patil, who had switched over to the BJP earlier this month, lost for the second consecutive time to NCP’s Dattatray Bharne. Bharne’s victory margin, however, reduced from 14,000 votes in 2014 to 3,110 votes this time.
Osmanabad strongman Padmasinh Patil’s son Rana Jagjitsinh Patil, who left the NCP to join the BJP ahead of the election, won from the Tuljapur seat for the BJP comfortably by a margin of nearly 22,000 votes. The former MLA of Osmanabad Assembly segment was fielded in Tuljapur against former minister and sitting Congress MLA Madhukarrao Chavan.
Former Leader of Opposition in the state Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, now a Housing Minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government, won the Shirdi seat by over 57,000 votes.
Ex-minister Abdul Sattar, once a close aide of former state Congress chief Ashok Chavan, who joined the Shiv Sena ahead of elections and was fielded from his home constituency of Sillod, came good for the party. Sattar improved his winning margin from the constituency, going from a margin of 13,921 votes in 2014 to a margin of over 23,000 votes this election.
But former minister Dilip Sopal’s switch over to the Shiv Sena did not fetch the desired result, with the six-term MLA losing his Barshi seat to Rajendra Raut, an Independent, by a narrow margin.
Chhatrapati Shivaji’s descendent Udayanraje Bhosle, who had defected to the BJP, also lost the Satara Lok Sabha bypoll, while his cousin Shivendra Raje Bhosale, a sitting MLA who had quit the NCP to join the BJP, won convincingly from the Satara-Jawali Assembly seat. Harshvardhan Jadhav, who was a Shiv Sena MLA in 2014, but contested as an Independent against the Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha election this summer, lost his Kannad seat in Aurangabad district. The Sena’s candidate, first-timer Udaysingh Sardarsingh Rajput, retained the seat by a comfortable margin of over 14,000 votes.