MUMBAI: The Lok Sabha Poll results, which were declared on Friday, turned out to be the political Waterloo for as many as 10 ministers-- five Central and five State Ministers, besides two former Union Ministers from Maharashtra, who fell to their less fancied rivals.
Topping the list of vanquished heavyweights was Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who lost to small-time actor-producer Sharad Bansode of the BJP in Solapur by a margin of 1.51 lakh votes. In 2009, Shinde had defeated Bansode by over 2 lakh votes. “The media had called me a weak candidate but I have shown my strength to them,” a triumphant Bansode said.
And NCP leader and Union Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel lost to BJP MLA Nana Patole in Bhadara-Gondiya by a margin of 2 lakh votes.” I have given a fitting reply to Patel’s money power,” said Patole.
Union Minister of State for Social Justice Manikrao Gavit, a nine-time MP, lost his bastion to BJP newcomer Heena Gavit,25, a medical practitioner, by one lakh votes. “It was a fight between the young and the old. I am happy that the voters reposed their trust in me,” Heena said.
Union Minister of State for Shipping Milind Deora and Union Minister of State for Coal Pratik Patil too were forced to eat humble pie at the hands of unfancied rivals. While Deora lost to Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant by a margin of 1.28 lakh votes, Pratik was humbled by a former NCP leader turned BJP candidate Sanjay Patil in Sangli. An euphoric Sawant said, “There was speculation that I might not be able to stand up to Deora and there will be a division of the Sena’s traditional votes. The result has proved everyone wrong.” According to Sanjay, who inflicted a humiliating defeat on his Congress rival in Sangli, “The Congress has lost Sangli seat for the first time since Independence. It is a big achievement”.
The members of the state Cabinet, who lost the polls, included Public Works Minister Chhagan Bhujbal;Water Resources Minister Sunil Tatkare;Cultural Affairs Minister Sanjay Devtale;Social Justice Minister Shivajirao Moghe and Minister of State for Relief and Rehabilitation Suresh Dhas. It was Shiv Sena’s Hemant, who handed out a virtual drubbing to Bhujbal in Nashik, securing victory by a margin of 2 lakh votes. In marked contrast Tatkare lost to Sena MP Anand Geete in Raigad by a margin of 2,000 votes. And it was BJP’s Hansraj Ahir, better known as the MP who dug up coalgate, who emerged victorious against Devtale in Chandrapur, winning by 2.50 lakh votes. Meanwhile, veteran Moghe fell to four-time Shiv Sena MP Bhavna Gawli by 90,000 votes in Yavatmal-Washim and Dhas lost to veteran BJP leader Gopinath Munde by 2 lakh votes. The losing former Union Ministers from the state were Mukul Wasnik and Gurudas Kamat, who lost to Shiv Sena’s Krupal Tumane and Gajanan Kirtikar in Ramtek and Mumbai North-West respectively.