AURANGABAD: For the people of Marathwada, apart from water scarcity and farmers’ suicide, the memories of the Maratha agitation too will be an important factor while voting in this election.
Overcoming the wrath of the Maratha agitators will be a challenge for the ruling alliance in this region.
Voting will take place on April 18 in Nanded, Beed, Parbhani, Hingoli, Osmanabad and Latur. Aurangabad and Jalna will go to polls in the third phase on April 23.
Four-time MP Chandrakant Khaire (Aurangabad), Omraje Nimbalkar (Osmanabad), Hemant Patil (Hingoli) and Sanjay Jadhav (Parbhani) are the Shiv Sena candidates in the region. BJP’s state president Raosaheb Danve is holding the fort for the saffron party from Jalna.
Parbhani, one of the most backward districts in the area, has been a Shiv Sena bastion for 35 years.
This time, however, the Sena faces a tough challenge as the Congress and NCP pose a serious challenge.
Sanjay aka Bandu Jadhav, the Shiv Sena candidate, will take on NCP’s Rajesh Vitekar.
The arithmetic in this seat, the party whose votes the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) manages to eat into will lose.
The Congress has dubbed the VBA as BJP’s B team as they will eat into its Dalit votes. However, the alliance’s entry in Parbhani might pose a threat to the Sena.
The dominant communities here, such as the OBCs and the Marathas, are traditional voters of the saffron alliance.
The agrarian crisis coupled with the people’s wrath seen during the agitation might disturb that equation.
“Government tried all tricks — from bribing to threatening to break our agitation. The agitation has stopped but, not ended. The parties in government will have to pay for deceiving the community in the name of reservation,” said Ravindra Kale, who was amongst the first few to start the agitation.
In Hingoli — where Congress’ Rajiv Satav won last time — the political scenario is similar to Parbhani. Satav has been replaced by Subhash Wankhede while the Sena has fielded its Nanded MLA Hemant Patil. Here too the number of votes VBA’s Mohan Rathod manages to pull will decide the winner.
In Osmanabad, cousins Rana Jagjitsinh Patil of NCP will take on Sena nominee OmRaje Nimbalkar. Jagjit Singh's father and former minister Dr Padmasinh Patil was arrested for the alleged murder of Raje's father Pawanraje. Now, apart from family issues, loan waivers, farmers’ woes and unemployment have become key issues.
Jalna is another interesting seat where Danve faces Vilas Autade of the Congress. The locals say the outcome here will depend on the cooperation Danve gets from the Shiv Sena.
In Aurangabad, Shiv Sena’s Chandrakant Khaire will take on Congress’ Subhash Zambad and AIMIM’s Imtiaz Jaleel. AIMIM is a part of the VBA.
Danve’s son-in-law Harshwardhan Jadhav, who resigned from the Shiv Sena during the Maratha agitation, is contesting from the newly floated Shiv Swarajya Bahujan Party.
Jaleel is VBA candidate and hence the caste equation in the communally polarised city will be important.