With the Bharatiya Janata Party losing its bastion of Kasba Peth in Pune city to the Congress in the recently-held Assembly bypoll, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said the development indicated that winds of change were blowing across the country. The former Union minister was speaking to reporters at Baramati, his hometown in Pune district. ”BJP’s defeat in the Kasba Peth Assembly bypoll proves that people are considering an alternative. Winds of change are blowing across the country,” he said.
The BJP on Thursday failed to retain the Kasba Peth Assembly seat, its stronghold for nearly three decades, as Congress candidate Ravindra Dhangekar defeated the saffron party nominee Hemant Rasane in a keenly contested bypoll, which had become a prestige battle between the ruling coalition and the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).
The BJP has represented Kasba Peth in the state Assembly for the last 28 years. Girish Bapat, the current BJP Lok Sabha MP from Pune, won the prestigious seat five times till 2019. The bypoll was held on February 26 and votes were counted on Thursday. Pawar said, ”BJP has negligible presence in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Punjab, Delhi, West Bengal and Karnataka, which goes to polls this year. At the time of casting their votes, people will remember how BJP toppled the Congress governments.” He termed the Supreme Court’s verdict on the appointment of election commissioners (ECs) a good decision for democracy.
In a far-reaching verdict, the apex court on Thursday ruled that the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and ECs will be done by the President on the recommendation of a committee, comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India (CJI), to maintain the ”purity” of the electoral process. Pawar said the NCP has done well in Nagaland as it won seven of the12 seats it contested in the recently held polls to the 60-member Assembly. ”We are the number two party there. Party general secretary Narendra Verma has been deputed to Nagaland as an observer,” he said.