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Open fight for Maharashtra's 9 reserved LS seats

IANS  |  Mumbai 

The contest seems wide open for the nine reserved Lok Sabha constituencies in that are currently held by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-combine.

Of the 23 assembly segments under these nine constituencies, 12 are with the BJP and one with ally Shiv Sena, 8 with the and on/e each with the and CPI-M.

Sprawling across the state's scheduled castes/scheduled tribes belts, the seats are Amravati, Ramtek, Shirdi, Latur and Solapur, while the ST constituencies are Nandurbar, Dindori, and Gadchiroli-Chimur.

The geographic distances nothwithstanding, the people in these constituencies suffer from near-identical socio-economic problems, top experts said.

"The SC/ST people are deprived of the promised recruitment in and education sector, promotions as entitled under the reserved categories and security. Funds have not been allocated for education and the money intended for students has been diverted to other purposes in the past five years," (Dr.) of the party's SC/ST Wing, told IANS.

He claimed that under the Dadasaheb Swabhiman Yojana introduced by former Sushilkumar Shinde, the was expected to buy land and allot it for agriculture purposes to poor, landless SC/ST people, but that scheme is in cold storage under the BJP government.

Moreover, the economically weaker sections of SCs/STs were entitled to a certain grant for housing purposes which has not been given to them, Raut said.

Ruling (BJP) disagreed, saying that e government of has pursued 'all-inclusive' policies, most of which have benefitted the SC/ST even in

"The schemes like Ujala, housing health cards and have largely benefited the SC/STs... The kind of work that the NDA has done since 2014 has never been done before 2014," Girkar - who is Convenor, State Committee on SC-ST-OBC-VJNT, told IANS.

The PM has pursued all-inclusive policies, most of which have benefitted the SC/STs, like ujala, housing, health cards, insurance, etc, which never was done before 2014. The BJP-Sena govt has done immense work for the SC/ST people, plus minorities.

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) had a different take on htis, said that there is a serious dearth of "qualitative education" in the SC/ST population areas, where mainly Ashram Schools are functioning.

"They use outdated methods not compatible with the modern era. The education standards are below par with the rest of schools in the state and hence the students who pass out are not properly equipped to enter the job market," More told IANS.

Referring to insufficient budgetary allocation, he said that the VBA plans to hike the expenditure from around 3.5 percent to at least 10 percent and implement the model of education in which some public and private schools are on par.

All sais that the biggest concern in the ST constituencies is implementation of The Scheduled Tribes & Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, commonly known as the Forest Rights Act.

Demanding implementation of the act, around 50,000 tribals and farmers had taken out a seven-day, 200-km, Long March from to in March 2018 that rattled the ruling dispensation.

"However, despite the assurances made by the government, the issues concerning farmers, the tribals, the deprived sections of society and the agrarian crises in the state which will decide the election outcome," Dhavale pointed out.

The trio also listed issues of unemployment among the SC/ST youth, lack of security, etc, as the progress, promising tough times for the BJP-Sena combine and the Congress-NCP front with the entry of the VBA comprising Prakash Ambedkar's Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) and Owaisi brothers' All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).

Among the seats, has been continuously won by since 1996, except for one term - 1998-1999 - when it was bagged by Republican Party of India(G). The Sena's Anandrao Adsul is the sitting here.

The seat has two reserved assembly components - Daryapur (SC) and Melghat (ST) - which are both currently held by the BJP legislators.

was with the from 1999-2009. Mukul Wasnik of the Congress wrested it in 2009 but lost to the Sena's Krupal Tumane in the 2014 Modi wave. Its sole reserved assembly seat - Umred (SC) - is held by the BJP

Shirdi has been held by the Shiv Sena since 2009 and its two reserved assembly segments - Shrirampur (SC) and Akole (ST) - are held by Congress legislators.

An erstwhile Congress bastion between 1962-1977, later with PWP in 1977, it came back to Congress from 1980-1999, went to BJP in 2004, was wrested by Congress in 2009 and has been held by the BJP since 2014. The sole reserved assembly seat - Udgir (SC) - is with the BJP since 2009.

The Solapur constituency has been a Congress stronghold and was held with the party's since 1999, went to the BJP in a bypoll in 2003 and was again won by the party in 2004. It returned to Congress in 2009 and is now held by the BJP. The sole reserved assembly segment - Mohol - is held by the Congress since 1995.

Among the ST seats, Nandurbar has been a Congress bastion since 1967, but was wrested by the BJP's greenhorn Heena V. Gavit during the Modi wave in 2014. Of the six reserved assembly segments, all ST, four are held by Congress and two are with the BJP.

Dindori had elected a BJP twice - in 2009 and 2014 - and of the two reserved assembly segments, Dindori is with the NCP and Kalvan is with the CPI-M since 2014.

was bagged by a regional party, in 2009, but went to the BJP's Chintaman Vanaga in 2014. After his sudden death, it was bagged in a 2018 bypoll by the BJP's Rajendra Gavit, who is now contesting as a Shiv Sena candidate.

Since 2014, of the four reserved assembly segments, the BVA holds Boisar, Shiv Sena rules in and the BJP holds Dahanu and Vikramgad.

The Gadchiroli-Chimur seat was won by the Congress in 2009, but went to the BJP in 2014 and of the four reserved assembly segments, all - Gadchiroli, Amgaon, Armori and Aheri - are held by the BJP.

This time, retaining the nine reserved Lok Sabha seats may not be an easy task for the BJP-Sena which is fighting without a 'wave' and largely on casteist lines.

(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: Wed, April 17 2019. 16:24 IST
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