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Shiv Sena-BJP sweep in Vidarbha


Our Regonal Bureau  |  Nagpur 

The saffron alliance has swept the Lok Sabha elections in Vidarbha winning 10 out of 11 seats and improving its tally by four.
Barring Nagpur Lok Sabha seat, where candidate Vilas Muttemwar emerged victorious by a margin of 98,500 votes, the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena alliance has bagged Ramtek, Bhandara, Wardha, Chandrapur, Chimur, Amravati, Akola, Buldana, Yavatmal and Washim.
The BJP has won Wardha, Bhandara, Chimur, Chandrapur, Akola and Yavatmal seats while its partner Shiv Sena has retained Ramtek, Buldana, Washim and Amravati, proving all pollsters wrong.
Traditionally, Vidarbha region was considered a bastion of the However, the BJP-Sena registered an unprecedented victory over 10 seats snatching four seats from and biting to dust its invincible candidates like Uttamrao Patil of Yavatmal.
The splendid performance of the saffron combine has to be viewed in the backdrop of the pre-poll alliance between Congress-and three major factions of the Republican Party of India.
This pre-poll alliance in 1998 had swept entire Vidarbha region defeating BJP-Sena over all the 11 seats, but this time resurgence of Sena, anti-incumbency wave against Congress-NCP, emergence of Bahujan Samaj Party as a force to reckon with and aggressive campaigning by the saffron alliance resulted in the defeat of the Congress-led alliance in Vidarbha.
Shiv Sena has once again registered an impressive performance retaining all the four seats-Washim, Buldana, Amravati and Ramtek held in the 13th Lok Sabha.
The BJP also improved its tally by four and snatched Wardha, Chandrapur, Yavatmal and Akola from their rival candidates.
Last time, the BJP had lost Chandrapur, Akola and Wardha by narrow margins, but this time barring Bhandara and Wardha, the BJP candidates registered their victory by an impressive margin.
The BJP had denied tickets to its sitting Mps Chunnilal Thakur from Bhandara and Namdeorao Divte from Chimur and the gamble seems to have paid off as the party has managed to retain both the seats.
Wardha and Bhandara witnessed neck and neck fights and both the seats were won by the BJP candidates defeating their heavyweight rivals by a narrow margin.
Veteran Congress leader Prabha Rau had to bite dust at the hands of BJP candidate Suresh Waghmare by a margin of only 3188 votes. In 1999 Rau, had defeated Waghmare by a margin of 7062 votes in a triangular fight.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Prafulla Patel had to suffer a humiliating defeat in Bhandara constituency where the BJP nominee Shishupal Patel emerged victorious by a slender margin of 3009 votes.
Last time BJP candidate Chunnilal Thakur had defeated Congress candidate Dr. Shrikant Jichkar by a margin of 3899 votes from this constituency. This is the second consecutive defeat for Patel, considered a major player in national politics. Last time he had emerged third from Chimur constituency.
At Ramtek, Shiv Sena candidate and Union Minister for Heavy Industries, Subodh Mohite defeated Congress candidate Dr. Shrikant Jichkar by a margin of 14,500 votes to retain the seat. Last time, Mohite had won this seat by a margin of 11,689 votes.
Another BJP heavyweight Prof. Mahadeorao Shivankar savoured success by registering an impressive victory from Chimur Lok Sabha constituency with a victory margin of 98,774 votes. He defeated Peoples Republican Party leader Prof. Jogendra Kawade.
In 1999, the BJP candidate Namdeorao Divte had defeated Jogendra Kawade by a margin of 70,040 votes.
As expected Hansraj Ahir of the BJP defeated Naresh Pugalia of the Congress from Chandrapur Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 59,823 votes. Last time, Ahir had missed the bus by a slender margin of 28,00 votes.
Nagpur result threw up a surprise as the sitting MP Vilas Muttemwar managed to romp home with a margin of 98,500 votes defeating his nearest rival Sardar Atal Bahadur Singh of the BJP. Muttemwar polled 3.73 lakh votes while Atal Bahadur Singh received 2,74 lakh votes.
This is the sole seat retained by the Congress party in Vidarbha. Anand Adsul, Shiv Sena leader and Union Minister of State for Finance in Vajpayee government retained Buldana seat defeating his traditional rival Mukul Wasnik of the Congress Party by a margin of 59,950 votes. In 1999, Adsul had defeated Wasnik by a margin of 45,007 votes in a triangular fight.
Victory of BJP candidate Sanjay Dhotre from Akola is considered as one of the most significant gain for the BJP. Contrary to exit poll results Dhotre defeated BRP-BMS leader and sitting MP Prakash Ambedkar by a margin of 1.06 lakh votes.
Last time, the BJP had lost this seat to Ambedkar by a thin margin of 8,716 votes. But the saffron alliance in a keenly contested triangular fight defeated Ambedkar and Laxman Tayde of the Congress by a convincing margin of 1.06 lakh votes. This is the highest victory margin in the region.
Defying all doomsday predictions, Bhavna Gawali of the Shiv Sena once again emerged victorious from Washim Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 60,898 votes.
She defeated her nearest rival and leader Manohar Naik, younger brother of late Sudhakarrao Naik, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra. This fight between the emerging "Gawali dynasty" and established "Naik dynasty" has finally settled in favour of Gawali family. Bhavna Gawali's father late Pundalikrao Gawali had defeated Sudhakarrao Naik in the 1996 elections.
Shiv Sena candidate Anant Gudhe surprised everybody by defeating leader R. S. alias Dadasaheb Gavai and Independent candidate Bacchu Kadu by a margin of 14,254 votes in one of the most keenly contested fight. Gudhe retained this seat for the third time. In 1999, Gudhe had defeated Gavai by a margin of 73,652 votes.
Defeat of invincible Uttamrao Patil from Yavatmal is being looked at as a big upset of this election in Vidarbha. Haribhau Rathod of the BJP defeated Patil""a six times MP from Yavatmal""by an impressive margin of 56,737 votes. This is the second time BJP had registered victory at Yavatmal.
In 1996 BJP candidate Rajabhau Thakre had defeated Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad by a margin of 40,000 votes from Yavatmal. However, Patil had retained Yavatmal seat for Congress whenever he had contested and this is for the first time in his political career that Patil had to suffer a defeat on his home turf.

First Published: Fri, May 14 2004. 00:00 IST