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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Poll bugle sounded, parties prepare for epic fight in Pune

BJP eyes to replicate 2014 show with Sena; NCP-Cong fight a difficult battle

pune Updated: Sep 22, 2019 16:21 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
The BJP hopes that the metro rail work along with some initiatives under the Smart City mission can once again become its strong points in the run-up to assembly polls scheduled on October 21.
The BJP hopes that the metro rail work along with some initiatives under the Smart City mission can once again become its strong points in the run-up to assembly polls scheduled on October 21. (HT FILE)
         

If the key highlight of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) success in Maharashtra during the 2014 assembly polls was the party’s lead in urban areas, it is striving hard to replicate it this time too and Pune is at the top of its radar.

With more than 11 seats in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, this part along with Mumbai and Nashik, known to be a golden triangle for the rich network of industries, has not just a large number of youth voters, but a cosmopolitan population too.

The BJP hopes that the metro rail work along with some initiatives under the Smart City mission can once again become its strong points in the run-up to assembly polls scheduled on October 21.

The BJP reaped benefits during the recently held Lok Sabha polls when BJP candidate Girish Bapat won with a margin of 3.5 lakh votes defeating Congress’ Mohan Joshi. While the party would like to repeat its 2014 magic in Pune as it had a 100 strike rate here, much depends on ally Shiv Sena, which has been asking for three seats in the city.

During 2014, both the Sena and BJP contested polls with the later winning eight out of eight seats.

For the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), any more defeat in Pune threatens its existence in the city. From Vitthalrao Gadgil to Suresh Kalmadi, the city was once a bastion for the Congress. Expulsion of Kalmadi, a three-time MP, from the party and NCP making inroads in suburban areas, made Congress relatively weak. This time, Congress leaders hope they will put up a strong fight in Pune, mostly an urban constituency, by ‘exposing the claims made by BJP.’

In the case of NCP, the party has been battling with a series of desertions in the state though it has managed to keep its flock together. With 29 corporators, mostly from fringe areas of Pubne, the party hopes to regain its lost ground in the city, once known as its stronghold.

First Published: Sep 21, 2019 21:12 IST

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