Maval and Shirur, two constituencies in Pune district that went to polls on Monday in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections, recorded a voter turnout of about 59.5 per cent despite the blazing heat. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Maval had registered 60.54 per cent polling while Shirur had registered 59.77 per cent polling.
“The polling was smooth, peaceful, incident-free and hassle-free,” said District Collector Naval Kishore Ram, who is also the district election officer. The collector said a handful of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) developed glitches but the machines were replaced within minutes. “At the polling stations where EVMs developed glitches, leading to delays or stoppage of polling, we didn’t deprive any voter from casting his or her vote. All those who had come inside the polling station by 6 pm were allowed to vote,” he said.
Ram said most of the glitches were reported during the mock trial. “Minimal glitches occurred during voting,” he said. “I have checked with officials and there were hardly any complaints about voters’ names missing,” said the district collector and gave credit to election officials for the “successful and smooth polling”.
Collectively, both seats have 44.70 lakh voters and 44 candidates. Voting in Shirur and Maval started on a slow note but picked up pace after the first two hours. By 11 am, nearly 18 per cent voter turnout was registered in the two constituencies. In Shirur, NCP candidate Amol Kolhe is contesting against Shiv Sena candidate and three-time MP Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil, while NCP candidate Parth Pawar is taking on Sena leader Shrirang Barne in Maval.
Both Maval and Shirur seats are politically significant for the NCP and Shiv Sena. While Sena is trying to retain both the seats, the NCP is trying to make its mark by winning both. Maval is particularly important for NCP as Parth Pawar, son of NCP leader Ajit Pawar and grandson of party chief Sharad Pawar, is contesting from it. “We have not been able to win either seat and it has hurt the party,” Pawar had said during the campaign.
Rajaram Patil, a candidate of the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi in Maval constituency, alleged that money was distributed by a political party in Panvel area to entice voters to vote for Parth Pawar. “Despite attempts to lure the voters, VBA will get widespread support as there is resentment against both Shiv Sena and NCP because they did nothing for those who were displaced by various development projects in Panvel, Karjat and Uran. The traditional voters of NCP and Sena have shifted to VBA,” he claimed.
Pune and Baramati, the other two constituencies in Pune district, went to polls on April 23.
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