MUMBAI: When Maharashtra government first announced to send a 'water train' to drought-hit Latur in 2015, one would have remotely imagined that it would reap a major political success for BJP in the Congress pocket borough.
Making a strong inroad, BJP is likely to win the polls to Latur Zilla Parishad with the party leading on 30 seats out of total 58.
A Congress stronghold for the past six decades, Latur has been home to two former chief ministers and nine former Home ministers of Congress.
The state government had in December 2015 envisaged the idea of supplying drinking water through rail service from Sangli district to parched Latur.
BJP spokesperson Ram Kadam said, "We succeeded in giving a strong message of BJP cares for rural people and we can solve their issues. The water train was not only for the city but we provided (water) to neighbouring areas. We also undertook several works of Jalyukta Shivir. This perception benefited us largely."
Kadam was also the in-charge of Latur looking at the water train project. The train, named 'Jaldoot', was run jointly by Indian Railways and state government, carried 50 wagons of water from Miraj junction and traversed 340-kms away to Latur city. There, the water was collected in a well located near railway tracks and was further carried into the city.
It would take nearly 14 hours to fill Jaldoot, carrying 25 lakh litres of water.
Since its first trip on April 11, 2016, the train made 106 ferries till August to Latur.