Maharashtra Bypolls 2023: BJP Loses Kasba Peth to MVA, Saves Face in Chinchwad

While Congress' Ravindra Dhangekar won in Kasba Peth, BJP's Ashwini Jagtap defeated NCP candidate in Chinchwad.

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In the bypolls to Kasba Peth constituency, Congress candidate Ravindra Dhangekar emerged victorious in the votes counted on Thursday, 2 March, by defeating Bharatiya Janata Party's Hemant Rasane by over 11,000 votes.

This is being seen as a major upset for the BJP as Kasba Peth was the bastion of the saffron party for the last 28 years.

Dhangekar polled a total of 72,599 votes while Rasane managed to get 61,771 votes.

The BJP managed to retain its seat in Chinchwad where its candidate Ashwini Jagtap defeated Nationalist Congress Party's Nana Kate and the rebel candidate Rahul Kalate.

The elections for both seats were necessitated after the death of BJP's sitting MLAs Mukta Tilak (Kasba Peth) and Laxman Jagtap (Chinchwad). The voting took place on 26 February.


Who is Ravindra Dhangekar?

While Congress' Ravindra Dhangekar won in Kasba Peth, BJP's Ashwini Jagtap defeated NCP candidate in Chinchwad.

Dhangekar has studied till 8th standard. He started his political career with Shiv Sena. He later moved out of the party after Raj Thackeray's rebellion and joined his newly formed Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. But in 2017, he left the MNS to join the Congress party.

Dhangekar has been a four-time corporator in the Pune Municipal Corporation.

It was said that the Brahmin voters in the Kasba Peth constituency were displeased at the BJP for not giving ticket to someone from the Tilak family, who are Chitpavan Brahmins. This probably resulted in Dhangekar getting a decent number of votes in the Brahmin-dominated areas like Narayan Peth and Sadashiv Peth. And his impressive performance in the eastern part sealed his victory.

This defeat will particularly sting the BJP because it had poured all its force in the election campaign. Its major leaders in the state, including deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, were in Pune for many days, conducting meetings and rallies. Union home minister Amit Shah too was in Pune for two days before the polls though he didn't participate in the campaigning.

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde also campaigned for the BJP candidate.

In a rally during the campaign, BJP leader and Pune guardian minister Chandrakant Patil had asked, "Who is Dhangekar?" The social media users latched on to these comments and began to troll Patil right after the results.

BJP Saves Face With Ashwini Jagtap's Victory

While Congress' Ravindra Dhangekar won in Kasba Peth, BJP's Ashwini Jagtap defeated NCP candidate in Chinchwad.

Ashwini Jagtap is the wife of Laxman Jagtap, whose death necessitated the by-elections in Chinchwad. Laxman Jagtap was a three-time MLA who passed away in early January at the age of 59 after a protracted illness.

Ashwini Jagtap's win is a face-saver for the BJP after losing the Kasba Peth seat.


As per Maha Vikas Aghadi's seat-sharing arrangement, the Chinchwad seat had gone to the NCP. However, Shiv Sena (UBT)'s Kalate, who was keen for the candidacy, rebelled and fought as an independent. But the votes he polled could have indirectly helped the BJP candidate.

Jagtap may have benefitted from sympathy votes as well.

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