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Edge-of-seat tussle to capture Western Maharashtra's Maratha belt

IANS  |  Mumbai 

The prosperous, politically-dominant region of Western Maharashtra, which has seen a huge turmoil in recent weeks, is all set for edge-of-seat contest in its nine constituencies here.

These are: Pune, Baramati, Madha, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and Hathkanangale that will vote in Phase III on April 23, and Maval and Shirur, where polling is in Phase IV on April 29.

Unawed by the 'Modi wave' of 2014, the region conceded only two seats to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two to its ally but gave four to the Party (NCP) and one to the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS).

The elections will decide the political fate of some of the biggest political clans like the Pawars, the Mohite-Patils and the late Vasantrao 'Dada' Patil's family clawing to retain their stronghold as the ruling BJP attempts to bulldoze their supremacy.

For starters, the third generation Parth Pawar, son of former Deputy Chief and grand-nephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, is contesting from Maval, while his cousin-aunt (Sharad Pawar's daughter) is nominated from Baramati.

Parth is pitted against Shiv Sena's sitting with the ally BJP vowing to chase away Parth from the battlefield.

In Baramati, the seat represented by for seven terms and for one term, is making her third attempt amidst a loud chorus by the BJP that the "Pawars would be politically erased" from the region.

The BJP has pitted Kanchan Kul, making it only one of the two seats in the state - besides Mumbai North-Central - which will have a direct woman-to-woman contest, even as and other BJP leaders launched a scathing attack on the Pawar clan.

In fact, Modi was scheduled to address a rally here on April 10, but it was cancelled at the last minute and now he's expected to come next week to give a final push to Pawars' prospects.

In Shirur, there's a dash of glamour in the form of - famed for the roles of Shivaji Maharaj and Sambhaji Maharaj - contesting on an NCP ticket.

Interestingly, Kolhe had left the to join the NCP two months ago and is now hoping to wrest the Shirur seat from the three-timer sitting Sena

Sangli has another tough contest coming up with the late Vasantrao Patil's grandson, Vishal Prakashbapu Patil, entering the fray on an SSS ticket, as part of the Congress-NCP led 56-party Mahagathbandhan, pitted against the BJP's sitting

Vishal Prakashbapu Patil's nomination sparked a family fued with his elder brother and former Union Minister qutting the and

The Satara seat has an interesting contest with the NCP's two-time MP Udayanraje P. Bhosale, a direct descendent of Shivaji Maharaj, locking horns with the BJP's Narendra Annasaheb Patil, a former Shiv Sainik.

In Madha, the NCP dropped sitting MP and denied a ticket to his son Ranjitsinh, who walked over to the BJP, but it has given the ticket to a royal descendent, Ranjitsinh Naik-Nimbalkar, who recently quit the He will lock horns with NCP nominee Sanjay Shinde, a bitter rival of the Mohite-Patils.

Pune will see contesting as a BJP candidate after the party dropped its sitting MP He will be challenged by Congress state

Hathkanangale will see two-time take on the Shiv Sena's Dhairyasheel Mane, son of former

Western has several major sugar mills, Pune is regarded as the state's cultural capital and the 'of the East', Solapur is famed for its textiles industries while Sangli is India's turmeric capital.

Satara and Kolhapur are home to two of the biggest royal families in who are direct descendents of the Chhatrapatis.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at q.najmi@ians.in)

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 15 2019. 08:54 IST
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