Maha election shocker for NCP came a day after Pawar completed 50 yrs in politics
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Maha election shocker for NCP came a day after Pawar completed 50 yrs in politics

Pawar was formally elected to the Maharashtra Assembly on February 22, 1967

mumbai Updated: Feb 24, 2017 12:12 IST
Satyajit Joshi
Satyajit Joshi
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra elections,Nationalist Congress Party,NCP
Pawar was formally elected to the Maharashtra Assembly on February 22, 1967(File)

A day after Sharad Pawar formally completed 50 years in Parliamentary politics, election results in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad have come as shocker to his Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Pawar was formally elected to the Maharashtra Assembly on February 22, 1967. His supporters ensured the day is aptly celebrated with the hope that the party will retain power in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. However, February 23 proved to be a day of disaster for the NCP, with the party facing defeat in both the cities, which played major role in Sharad Pawar’s 50-year political career.

Only solace for Pawar supporters is that Rohit Pawar, grandson of Appasaheb Pawar, elder brother of Sharad Pawar, won the zilla parishad election from Baramati tehsil. It is for the first time that somebody from the Pawar family contested a zilla parishad election.

Pawar’s mother Shardabai was member of a local board in the pre-independence era.

Sharad Pawar, Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule began their political career by contesting the Assembly or Lok Sabha electiond.

Rohit Pawar, who is handling a private sugar mill, preferred to begin his political career by contesting grass root election. The NCP has managed to retain the Pune zilla parishad by begging 44 seats. However, the BJP has won seven seats for the first time, while the Congress and NCP have bagged nine seats each. The zilla parishad election indicates the BJP and Sena have made considerable inroads in Pawar’s bastion.

Setback to Pawar family is continuation of the 2014 Lok Saha elections, when the first serious signal of decline in Pawar’s hold over Pune city and district was experienced. Two months ago, anti-Pawar forces in Pune district had managed to win municipal council elections in Pune district, reducing NCP to Pawar’s home town of Baramati. Several NCP workers deserted party in the past two months, indicating Pawar has lost his grip over workers.

The NCP was controlling Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations almost for two decades. They are now captured by the BJP. Both cities will have BJP mayors without any help from other parties. The NCP will now be the opposition party in Pune, with the party strength coming down to 38 from 52. Several prominent NCP leaders in Pune had lost elections, forcing Pune unit president Vandana Chavan to resign from the post, hours after the results were announced.

Pimpri-Chinchwad has come as a big shocker for the NCP as former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar was single-handedly controlling civic affairs. It was part of Sharad Pawar’s Baramati Lok Sabha constituency before delimitation in 2009. The NCP will be the opposition party in PCMC, with party bagging only 36 seats. In the dissolved house, the NCP had a majority of 82 members. The NCP failed to win voters here despite several development works in industrial township.

NCP leaders admit it paid a heavy price for large scale defection in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. The BJP managed to get three top NCP leaders in Pimpri-Chinchwad to win. Similar experiment was carried out in Pune in a few areas.

Growing feeling among NCP cadre is that the Pawar family has lost its influence over party workers. The outcome has made NCP workers anxious as Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar looked into tje Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad elections and addressed a number or public rallies.

The NCP’s decline began in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule got elected with a small margin of 70,000 votes, against the huge difference of four lakh in 2009. Many believe Sule would have lost had Rashtriya Samaj Party president Mahadeo Jankar fought the election on BJP ticket.

Ajit Pawar’s victory margin in Baramati Assembly constituency was reduced by 2,000 votes, while the party lost several sets in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Pune district.

NCP leaders admit it would be tough time for the party because of series of serious setbacks in electoral politics after 2014.

Read more: NCP possibly the biggest loser in the local bodies’ elections

Party over for Sharad Pawar? Civic polls loss leaves NCP battling for survival

BMC polls: BJP wins over Congress-NCP ruled rural bodies

First Published: Feb 24, 2017 12:07 IST