Pune: Even as NCP suffered reverses in its citadel of Pune district with just three out of 21 seats in its kitty, party leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar romped home with a thumping margin of about 90,000 votes in the family pocket-borough of Baramati.
The home turf of the Pawars had become a focal point during campaigning for the October 15 Assembly elections with Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a massive rally in
At the rally, Modi launched a scathing attack on the family alleging the “chacha-bhatija” (uncle-nephew) duo, in an apparent reference to Sharad and Ajit Pawar, had “enslaved” the people there and they wanted to break free from their prolonged bondage.
Despite a well-oiled campaign by BJP which got into top gear after Modi's fiery speech, the party candidate Balasaheb Gawde lost to Ajit who, as per the family tradition in elections, resurfaced in the constituency only on the last day of canvassing to meet the voters.
He was accompanied by the senior Pawar and his daughter Supriya Sule, the NCP Lok Sabha MP from Baramati, displaying supreme confidence of a victory.
The contest had attracted wide attention this time because of a series of allegations of corruption against Ajit and his controversial statements regarding dry dams that had evoked
The victory margin of the 55-year-old former minister registered a small decline as compared to his over one lakh lead in the 2009 polls.
As against seven seats it bagged in the last elections, NCP could win only three in Pune district this time, including that of Ajit.
The other two seats that went to the party included Ambegaon, from where sitting MLA and former Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse Patil won defeating his Shiv Sena rival by about 60,000 votes.
Dattatraya Bharne of NCP won the third seat from Indapur, humbling former Minister Harshwardhan Patil of Congress by a margin of about 14,000 votes.
While BJP improved its tally in the district from four in the last elections to 12 this time, Congress was reduced to just one seat as against four it won earlier.