BJP and Congress Clash in Crucial Pune Lok Sabha Contest

Pune Lok Sabha seat is set for a close contest between BJP's Murlidhar Mohol and Congress's Ravindra Dhangekar, with Vasant More from VBA potentially disrupting the contest. Top leaders from both parties, including PM Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, have campaigned extensively in the city.

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BJP and Congress Clash in Crucial Pune Lok Sabha Contest

BJP and Congress Clash in Crucial Pune Lok Sabha Contest

The Pune Lok Sabha seat is set for a fascinating contest between the BJP's Murlidhar Mohol, a former city Mayor, and the Congress's Ravindra Dhangekar, an MLA who won the Kasba by-election last year. With voting scheduled for May 13, campaigning came to an end on Sunday in Pune, Shirur, and Maval constituencies.

The Pune seat has been a bastion of the Congress since 1951 but slipped out of their hands with the decline of Congressman Suresh Kalmadi. The BJP has reigned supreme in Pune since the 2014 general election, consolidating their hold with a clean sweep in subsequent Assembly and civic body elections.

Why this matters: The outcome of this election will have significant implications for the political landscape of India, as it may indicate a shift in voter sentiment towards the ruling BJP or the opposition Congress party. Furthermore, the result may influence the national narrative and set the tone for future elections in the country.

Despite a minor Congress renaissance last year, the party's decrepit organisational structure may hamstring their chances in this contest, compared to the BJP's robust poll organisation. Congress candidate Ravindra Dhangekar remarked, "We got good response from voters." BJP's Murlidhar Mohol stated, "People believe in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and to support him, they will give me a chance to work as Pune MP. All alliance parties are working hard along with our workers."

Vasant More, a quota activist from the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) party, is potentially disrupting the contest between the two major parties. His agitation has resulted in a sharp Maratha versus Other Backward Classes (OBC) division in the Marathwada region, which may impact the fates of both ruling Mahayuti and opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) candidates.

On the last day of campaigning, several state and national leaders participated in public rallies in Pune, including BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari and Devendra Fadnavis, Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Sunil Kedar, and Vishwajeet Kadam, and Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief have also recently participated in public rallies in the city.

The Shirur Lok Sabha seat is also expected to be a close contest between MP Amol Kolhe and former MP Shivajirao Adhalrao. The Pawar family tussle between Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar is playing out by proxy in Shirur, with Pawar senior's candidate NCP SP leader Dr. Amol Kolhe pitted against the former MP of Shirur, businessman Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil, who is Ajit Pawar and the Mahayuti's candidate.

As Pune goes to the polls on May 13, the BJP aims to retain its stronghold while the Congress looks to regain lost ground. The presence of VBA candidate Vasant More adds an element of uncertainty to the contest. With high-profile leaders from both major parties campaigning extensively, the Pune Lok Sabha seat promises to be one of the most keenly watched battles in the 2024 Indian general election.

Key Takeaways

  • Pune Lok Sabha seat: BJP's Murlidhar Mohol vs Congress's Ravindra Dhangekar.
  • Outcome may indicate shift in voter sentiment towards BJP or Congress.
  • Congress's organisational structure may hinder their chances.
  • Vasant More's VBA candidacy may disrupt the contest between BJP and Congress.
  • Pune Lok Sabha seat is a crucial battleground in the 2024 Indian general election.