BJP's Udayanraje Bhosale routed in Satara bypoll: How NCP chief Sharad Pawar's rain-soaked speech downed Shivaji's descendant

On Thursday, the BJP's Udayanraje Bhosale faced the unexpected: a shock defeat in the Satara Lok Sabha bypoll in Maharashtra at the hands of Shriniwas Patil, a former governor of Sikkim and close aide of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.

FP Staff October 25, 2019 17:21:18 IST
BJP's Udayanraje Bhosale routed in Satara bypoll: How NCP chief Sharad Pawar's rain-soaked speech downed Shivaji's descendant
  • For Bhosale, a direct descendant of the 17th Century Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji, it has indeed been a quick reversal of fortunes

  • The turning point came when Pawar, the NCP chief, during his last rally in Satara on 18 October, delivered a speech that went viral on social media

  • Shriniwas Patil attributed the outcome to Bhosale betraying Pawar, saying the public was unhappy with Bhosale's decision to join the BJP

On Thursday, the BJP's Udayanraje Bhosale faced the unexpected: a shock defeat in the Satara Lok Sabha bypoll in Maharashtra at the hands of Shriniwas Patil, a former governor of Sikkim and close aide of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.

For Bhosale, a direct descendant of the 17th Century Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji, it has indeed been a quick reversal of fortunes.

BJPs Udayanraje Bhosale routed in Satara bypoll How NCP chief Sharad Pawars rainsoaked speech downed Shivajis descendant

File image of Udayanraje Bhosale. IBN Lokmat

The past few months saw Bhosale, a multiple-time former Member of Parliament from the Sharad Pawar-led NCP, resign his post just months after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls — in which the BJP won a landslide victory — and stand for a by-election on the saffron party ticket, citing "development" as the reason for doing so.

BJP brought out the big guns to campaign for Bhosale in Satara, with both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah holding rallies and campaigning for the regional strongman.

The prime minister, at the Satara rally, asserted that his government adheres to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's principles of nationalism and national security, and possesses the strength to give a befitting reply to those who have "evil designs" on India. But that wasn't enough to deliver victory for Bhosale.

While Patil, a former Lok Sabha member, garnered 6,36,620 votes compared to Bhosale's 5,48,903 votes, is being hailed a "giant killer", however, the turning point came when Pawar, the NCP chief, during his last rally in Satara on 18 October, delivered a speech that went viral on social media.

The visuals of 78-year-old Pawar soaked to the bone in the pelting rain, but powering through changed the media narrative and swayed the electorate.

Pawar said, "When one makes a mistake, one should admit it. I made a mistake while selecting the candidate for the Lok Sabha poll. I accept this publicly. But I am happy that to correct the mistake, every young and old person in Satara is waiting for 21 October."

"The rain god has blessed the NCP for the 21 October election. And with the blessings of the rain god, Satara district will create a miracle in Maharashtra. That miracle will begin from 21 October," he added.

'Bhosale betrayed Pawar'

Patil attributed the outcome to Bhosale "betraying" Pawar, saying the public was unhappy with Bhosale's decision to join the BJP.

"Pawar Saheb had fielded him from the Satara Lok Sabha seat, respecting the throne. But Bhosale deserted the party a few months after the election. He betrayed Pawar Saheb. Hence, the people voted him out," Patil said while also acknowledging that Pawar's speech in Satara also created sympathy for the NCP in the Lok Sabha constituency.

He also said that the poll result has given him the "biggest joy".

Bhosale took to Twitter after his defeat, saying: "Have lost today, but haven't stopped. Haven't won, but also not finished." Bhosale thanked his workers and the people who voted for him in the 21 October election.

With inputs from PTI

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