Are Pawars losing grip over Pune district?
Even though Ajit Pawar won in Baramati with the highest margin in the state, the assembly election results show the Pawar family is slowly losing its grip over their home district, Pune. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has managed to win only three of the 21 seats in Pune district, while it was completely routed from Pune city and the industrial township of Pimpri-Chinchwad, both controlled by Ajit.
The three seats include Ambegaon – represented by Dilip Walse Patil who was speaker of the assembly, Baramati – held by Ajit and Indapur, where the NCP’s Dattatray Bharne defeated Congress heavyweight Harshavardhan Patil.
In Baramati, the victory margin had become a prestige issue for Ajit after Narendra Modi’s rally in the city. But even though Ajit won, his victory margin was reduced by 13,000 votes. Pawar had won the last election with a margin of one lakh votes, which came down to 87,000 in the current election.
The NCP had a major setback in Pune city and Pimpri-Chinchwad. In Pune city, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bagged all the eight seats, while the NCP failed to retain a single seat. In Pimpri-Chinchwad, the BJP-Sena and an independent emerged victorious in three segments.
The BJP has one seat — Maval — in addition to Shirur now. Besides, Rahul Kul of Rashtriya Samaj Party defeated Ajit’s close associate, Ramesh Thorat, from Daund, which is next to Baramati. The Sena also added one seat — Khed — in addition to Purandar, where sitting MLA Vijay Shivtare, won even after strong efforts by Pawar family.
While NCP leaders admit the results in Ambegaon and Baramati were a given, they also admit the NCP won in Indapur because its candidate, Bharne, belongs to the dominant Dhangar community. The NCP could not defeat its other traditional rival Sangram Thopte from Bhor, where it stood third.