In Pune, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) slogan ‘shat pratishat Bhajapa’ (100% BJP) rang especially true, with the party winning all eight assembly seats in the city.
In the 2009 assembly polls, the BJP had won just two seats here. Five years on, a 42% vote-share in the traditional Congress bastion showed just how much the party had progressed. The success follows a victory by three lakh votes for the BJP’s Pune candidate in the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year.
The party also won one seat in neighbouring Pimpri-Chinchwad.
The BJP’s 100% strike-rate in Pune came as a bit of a surprise to political observers, who say that the city had previously backed the Congress for its “socialistic” and “inclusive” approach.
“The young and middle-class population, which represents the majority in Pune, voted for a party that offers inspiration,” said Chitra Lele, a political science professor at SNDT.
Lele said the RSS’ strong grassroot network in Pune coupled with the ‘Modi wave’ catapulted the BJP to success, with their candidates winning by handsome margins in a multi-cornered contest.
In Parvati, Madhuri Misal won by 69,000 votes while Medha Kulkarni won in Kothrud by 64,662 votes. Bhimrao Tapkir won Khadakwasla by a margin of 63,026 votes.
The party’s meticulous planning at the booth level, which was aided by RSS workers, proved significant in the BJP’s massive victories, says observers.
“With this victory, we have achieved our target of shat pratishat Bhajapa in the city. This has been possible only because of our workers and the people of Pune,” said Anil Shirole, party MP.