Celebrations were galore at the Pune office of the Bhartiya Janata Party and why not? It took a long wait spanning an entire decade before this moment arrived. With victory nearly sealed for BJP candidate Anil Shirole leading by a margin of over 1,60, 146 votes after round 12 over his nearest rival Congress candidate Vishwajeet Kadam, the party workers were seen rejoicing on the seats from as early as 11am.
It was in 1999 Loksabha elections when the entire election leaned to make Atal Bihari Vajpayee the Prime Minister of the country, since the government had failed on the floor of the House when Pune's Pradeep Rawat of BJP defeated Mohan Joshi of Congress. However in the next Loksabha elections, after his return to the party-folds, Kalmadi won the 2004 and 2009 elections despite having no co-operation from the NCP. But in this Loksabha, the 'Modi wave' seemed to have worked in the favour of Shirole who was seen flashing victory signs and 'thank-you' speeches early in the day.
Meanwhile the mood in counting booths as well as Congress Bhawan in the city was grim with disappointed faces of party workers over the apparent win of the BJP candidate Shirole in Pune. They are frantically asking for updates over the phone after every round. BJP on the other side, have already started rejoicing and preparing for celebrations. BJP corporator Hemant Rasne declared that he had ordered for 300kgs of sweets to be distributed to locals at Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati as he was expecting over a 300 seat majority for the party.
Shirole who is in the polling center right now said, “Thanks to Punekars for showing support. The betterment of Pune and it's infrastructure will be a priority.”
He added, “Looks like BJP is getting majority in the center so India will get a stable government without any other party support so that it will be easier to take public oriented decisions without any other party's pressure.” Shirole hopes that BJP will give the Indian citizens a better government than UPA. as the lead grows further.
Even though Western Maharashtra is considered to be a bastion for the Congress-NCP alliance, Pune city assumes special importance as the gate-way to this region, as it is regarded as the education and cultural capital of the state.Pune witnessed an interesting quadrangular contest for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections for its lone LS seat, where victory will depend on a plethora of factors.
History to change?
Out of 15 Lok Sabha elections conducted so far, Congress has dominated Pune by winning nine times. The party has also ruled the Pune Municipal Corporation for decades, barring the 2007 elections which say the rise of the “Pune Pattern”. This Pune Pattern was an association of Shiv Sena-BJP and the NCP to keep Congress and especially Suresh Kalmadi at bay, during which the PMC saw BJP-Shiv Sena and NCP at the helm for a short span.