Maharashtra has total forty-eight Lok Sabha Members of Parliament. The fate of seven of those will be decided on April 11. The key battle is in the high-profile seat of Nitin Gadkari in Nagpur.
Gadkari is being challenged by former BJP MP Nana Patole who had switched to Congress. Actually, Patole is from nearby district of Bhandara – Gondia. When his candidature was announced, everyone thought that this would be a cakewalk for Gadkari. But following the campaign, it has come across that Nana will prove a tough fight to Gadkari.
In Chandrapur, Shiv Sena’s rebel MLA Suresh alias Balu Dhanorkar has taken on Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir. Dhanorkar had earlier been denied ticket but following Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar’s intervention requesting Congress chief Rahul Gandhi to change the candidate, he was declared as the candidate. The Ahir vs. Dhanorkar battle is one of the most watched in Maharashtra.
Also Read: Elections 2019: Chai Pe Charcha of No Help, Farmers Feel Cheated
In Yavatmal, Washim, Shiv Sena’s four term MP Bhavana Gavali is seeking a fifth term. But this time, state Congress’ big name Manikrao Thakare is putting up a strong fight in the seat. Interestingly, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi’s candidate Pradeep Pawar is proving helpful to Thakare. Pawar comes from the Banjara community, which used to vote for Bhavana en bloc. This is also one of the districts which have seen the highest number of farmers’ suicides in the state. All these factors are set to have an impact on outcome of this seat.
This phase, which is happening in the Vidarbha region, is important to set the tone of elections for all the next phases in the state. It should be noted that the region was earlier a Congress bastion. But in 2014, BJP took hold of the region, and in the last five years have tried to improve their support on the ground. However, with the agriculture dependent region being riddled with agrarian distress, it is contributing to the anger of farmers against the BJP.
Also Read: Elections 2019: Will Maharashtra’s Vanchit Alliance Dent Opposition Parties’ Chances?
In the second phase on April 18, ten seats in Vidharbha and Marathwada will go to polls. So, the party which is successful in creating a positive buzz in the first phase will gain for the next phase.
Read more election stories from NewsClick here.