Vidarbha, western Maharashtra dent BJP’s tally

Most imports fail to make a mark in both regions; alleged apathy towards farm crisis, Kolhapur-Sangli floods may have given edge to Congress -NCP

Published - October 25, 2019 01:28 am IST - Mumbai

Maiden victory: The BJP’s Chandrakant Patil celebrates his win in Kothrud in Pune on Thursday.

Maiden victory: The BJP’s Chandrakant Patil celebrates his win in Kothrud in Pune on Thursday.

Vidarbha and western Maharashtra proved to be the spoilsports for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), stopping it short of clinching the scale of victory predicted by exit polls.

Sidelining senior leaders like Union minister Nitin Gadkari, denying a ticket to former power minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule — a prominent face of the Teli community — and the alleged neglect of the farm crisis, are said to be the reasons for the ruling party losing at least 10 seats in Vidarbha. In addition, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis relied more on imported leaders like Parinay Fuke and Amil Bonde, who both lost.

In western Maharashtra, meanwhile, a largely well-coordinated campaign by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress that hammered home local problems as opposed to the BJP’s national focus put a check on the saffron party.

This, coupled with intra-party rebellion and resentment against the BJP’s alleged apathy in times of crises, notably the Kolhapur-Sangli floods, helped the NCP-Congress win a combined 39 of the 70-odd segments in the sugar heartland comprising Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur and Ahmednagar districts.

In contrast, the BJP-Sena alliance managed only 21 seats, with the BJP individually winning only 17 as opposed to the 24 it won in 2014.

In Vidarbha, as of late on Thursday, the BJP had won 27 compared to 44 seats it won in 2014. While the Sena maintained its 2014 tally of four, the Congress and NCP surged ahead by winning 17 and six respectively. Others secured eight seats.

The Congress snatched two seats from the BJP in Nagpur city, with Vikas Thakre winning Nagpur West and Nitin Raut securing Nagpur North. Mr. Fadnavis retained the Nagpur South West constituency, defeating Ashish Deshmukh of the Congress.

Farmer leader Nana Patole who resigned as BJP MP prior to the Lok Sabha polls, defeated State minister Parinay Fuke from Sakoli in Bhandara district. In Katol, the NCP’s Anil Deshmukh defeated BJP’s Charansingh Thakur, while in Savner the Congress’s Sunil Kedar retained his seat in a hard-fought victory. The Congress made gains in Chandrapur, Yavatmal as well as Amravati, where the BJP won only the Dhamangaon Railway seat.

Young turk:  Congress supporters celebrate with  Ruturaj Patil in Kolhapur.

Young turk: Congress supporters celebrate with Ruturaj Patil in Kolhapur.

In western Maharashtra the electorate largely rejected turncoats who joined the BJP-Sena ahead of the polls, such as Dilip Sopal in Barshi, Vaibhav Pichad in Akole and Harshavardhan Patil in Indapur.

The NCP effected a stunning reversal of fortunes by bagging two of the eight Assembly segments in Pune, after Chetan Tupe trounced BJP MLA Yogesh Tilekar in Hadapsar while Sunil Tingre bested the BJP’s Jagdish Mulik in Vadgaonsheri. The BJP had swept all eight segments in 2014.

The NCP-Congress effected a renaissance of sorts in Pune district, winning 12 of the 21 seats and reducing the BJP only to the urban pockets of Pune city. The Congress did well in Ahmednagar and Kolhapur districts as well.

The party's most stunning victory came in the form of Rohit Pawar’s win over BJP minister Ram Shinde in Karjat-Jamkhed.

Apart from the loss of NCP MLA Shashikant Shinde in Koregaon, all top leaders from the Congress-NCP alliance retained their seats. Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar defeated the BJP’s Gopichand Padalkar by a staggering margin of 1.65 lakh votes, while State Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat won handsomely from his stronghold of Sangamner in Ahmednagar district.

Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan won a hard-fought battle in Karad South, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister holding rallies in the area, while Congress ‘young turk’ Ruturaj Patil made a stunning debut in Kolhapur South, beating the BJP’s Amal Mahadik by 42,709 votes.

In a thrilling battle in Solapur City Central, the Congress’s Praniti Shinde, the daughter of former chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde trailed in the early rounds but rallied to beat Haji Farooq Shabdi of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen by 12,719 votes. Ms. Shinde, seeking re-election for a third time, was also facing the Shiv Sena’s Dilip Mane and CPI (Marxist)’s Narasayya Adam.

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