Preparation underway at SP college on Monday as Pune’s graduates’ and teachers’ constituency will go for polls on Tuesday (December 1).(Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)
Preparation underway at SP college on Monday as Pune’s graduates’ and teachers’ constituency will go for polls on Tuesday (December 1).(Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)

MVA faces first real electoral test today

BJP’s Sangram Deshmukh is locked in a direct fight with NCP nominee Arun Lad with backing from MVA
By Yogesh Joshi | Hindustan Times, Pune
PUBLISHED ON DEC 01, 2020 04:36 PM IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-Congress-Shiv Sena alliance are all set for first major fight post-formation of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government last year. The graduates’ and teachers’ constituency polls in Pune division, as well as other parts of Maharashtra on Tuesday (December 1), is a real electoral test for both MVA constituents and BJP, which has made the polls for total five seats in the state prestigious with putting all its might.

For Pune graduates’ constituency polls, among 62 candidates, BJP’s Sangram Deshmukh is locked in a direct fight with NCP nominee Arun Lad with backing from MVA. For Pune teachers’ constituency polls, NCP has pitted Jayant Asgaonkar against an independent Jitendra Pawar, whom the BJP has supported. There are a total of 35 candidates in the fray for teachers constituency.

The Aam Admi Party (AAP) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have also nominated Amol Pawar and Roopali Patil respectively for graduates constituency polls, for which counting will take place on December 3.

As many as 5.25 lakh voters have registered for graduates’ constituency while 1.18 lakh voters are registered for teachers’ constituency polls.

The BJP has made the polls extremely prestigious with all its top leaders from the state unit including former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP state unit chief Chandrakant Patil campaigning for party candidate extensively.

“We are confident to retain the graduates’ constituency even as Sena, NCP and Congress have come together. For teachers’ constituency, the party has extended support to Jitendra Pawar, who is a strong candidate,” said Patil, who has twice represented the seat in the past.

Given that electorate from at least four to five districts will participate for each constituency polls, BJP has made the elections important enough to make it a verdict on the MVA as also Uddhav Thackeray’s governance. For Pune graduates’ and teachers constituency polls, voters from five districts – Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur – will cast their votes.

The BJP believes that favourable outcome in these polls will send a message that people are not supporting tripartite MVA government while the defeat of saffron party candidates’ would stave off the threat to the coalition in the immediate future, feel political observers. This is also well explained from recent remarks from BJP union minister Raosaheb Danve, who said, “The MVA government may last only for next two-three months. We are just waiting for legislative council polls to conclude.”

The NCP has also made all efforts with the party and its allies focusing more on rural parts of western Maharashtra expecting support from voters. During assembly polls last year, NCP won more seats from rural parts, which the party believes is solidly backing it.

NCP state unit chief Jayant Patil has personally campaigned and overseen the entire canvassing process for candidates with party chief Sharad Pawar and others also joining the campaign.

“We are confident that both of our candidates will win the polls this time. The alliance with Sena and Congress will only prove as an added advantage,” Patil said at a recent campaign meeting.

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