The Pune and Baramati Lok Sabha constituencies would go to polls on Tuesday to decide the fate of candidates in the fray and also which party will gain supremacy in the state. The two seats out of four in the district hold importance in deciding who would have the political control in the district. The polling for the two remaining seats —Shirur and Maval that fall in Pune district — would be held on April 29.
The Pune constituency will witness a contest between a total of 31 candidates. In 2014, BJP candidate Anil Shirole had won the election defeating Congress’ Vishwajeet Kadam. This year, the BJP has fielded state minister Girish Bapat from the seat while the Congress has given its ticket to senior leader Mohan Joshi.
In Baramati, the NCP has fielded sitting MP Supriya Sule, daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. She would try to get re-elected for the third consecutive time, but is facing challenge from 18 other candidates, including Kanchan Kul of the BJP. Sule had faced tough contest in the previous election from RSP chief Mahadeo Jankar, who had contested as the candidate of BJP-Shiv Sena alliance.
The election campaign in Pune and Baramati constituencies saw leaders take on the NCP. BJP leaders hit out at Pawar in his bastion on various occasions. On the other hand, the NCP and Congress reached out to voters highlighting the failure of the BJP-led government at the Centre and in the state while alleging the saffron combine of hurting the secular atmosphere in the country.
In 2014, the Pune Lok Sabha constituency had witnessed a voter turnout of 54.11 per cent while it was 58.81 per cent in Baramati constituency. “The district election office has taken all possible efforts to increase the voter turnout. We are hopeful of a better turnout,” said District Election Officer Naval Kishor Ram.
A total of 20,74,861 voters are registered in Pune constituency and the polling in Pune would be held in 1,997 polling booths. In Baramati, a total of 21,12,408 voters are registered on the electoral roll and a total of 2,372 polling booths are set up in the constituency.
The Pune constituency has 91 critical polling booths and live webcasting of 226 booths would be done to ensure that there is no law and order situation during polling process. Similarly, Baramati has 62 critical polling booths and webcasting of 285 of its polling booths would be done.
The district election office has set up 26 flying squads in Pune and 34 flying squads in Baramati to check any wrongdoing during the polling process.