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Now showing in Shirur: 3-time Sena MP vs popular Marathi actor

Press Trust of India  |  Pune 

The Lok Sabha constituency in district is set for an interesting battle between a three-time of the and an who is popular among people for his on-screen exploits.

Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil, a three-term of the from Shirur, is taking on Amol Kolhe, a fielded by the NCP.

According to political experts, fielding in the was a "smart" move by as the has become a household name in through his roles of Chhatrapati Sambhaji in historical biopic serial 'Swarajyarakshak Sambhaji' and in '

is considered a stronghold of Patil, who has won the seat three times since 2004 with huge margins, with the NCP, which has a strong base in the region, failing to halt his victory march.

This time too, Patil is confident of winning the seat with even bigger margin, citing his "strong connect" with the people of and development work he has done in the industry-dominated constituency.

The constituency houses several MIDCs in Chakan, Khed, Ranjangaon and Sanaswadi areas where big companies, including automobile firms, have their plants.

Kolhe, who joined the NCP in February after quitting the Shiv Sena, however, said Patil has "failed" to bring development to Shirur.

"On the development front, he has failed as an Look at the

"Had there been a trauma centre on the highway, it would have been a boon for people. However, there is an attempt to divert the issue from development to caste-based politics," said

He said an international airport which was supposed to come near Khed in the constituency went to Purandar, also in district, which shows Patil's lack of vision.

The other important issue in the constituency is the ban on bullock cart races, which used to be popular among people in rural areas.

The Shiv is spearheading a campaign demanding lifting of the ban on races.

The has banned bullock cart races in on the ground of cruelty.

"Bullock cart races could be used to give a fillip to the rural economy. I have never seen him meeting (Union minister) over the issue.

"He never tried to explain how the races could help the rural economy in a true sense," the NCP candidate said.

said the constituency lacks and maintained youths here want development and jobs.

"Since there are several historical sites in the constituency such as the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (Shivneri), Tulapur where Chhatrapati Sambhaji sacrificed his life for Swarajya and Ashtavinayak (eight Ganeshas), we will plan a 'Bhakti Shakti corridor' to give encouragement to tourism and employment," he added.

Patil, while speaking to PTI, said there was no anti- incumbency against him and asserted he will seek votes in the name of development.

"I am connected to the people of Shirur and working for development of the constituency.

"Of course, he (Kolhe) is an and quite popular because of his serials. However, being popular on the silver screen does not mean that popularity will convert into votes," said the

Talking about allegations on the airport issue, he said it was the Airports Authority of India's (AAI) decision.

"The AAI carried out six feasibility surveys at the proposed site near Khed between 2006-2013 and gave a report to the then Congress-NCP government that due to geographical constraints, the airport was not possible (at Khed)," Patil said.

About the bullock cart race issue, Patil said he has raised the matter on different forums and even tabled a private bill in Parliament.

The Shirur Lok Sabha constituency comprises six assembly segments - Junnar, Ambegaon, Khed Alandi, Shirur, Bhosari and Hadapsar.

The constituency, which will vote on April 29, has more than 20 lakh voters.

Camil Parkhe, a senior journalist and political analyst, said it was a "smartt" move by Pawar to field Kolhe, who is very popular among people due to his on-screen roles.

"For the last three terms, NCP had been struggling to field a strong candidate in the constituency. However, this time they got a strong contender in Kolhe," Parkhe said.

However, it would be a daunting task for the NCP to win the seat as Patil has a strong connection with the people in the constituency and enjoys a clean image, he said.

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

First Published: Fri, April 12 2019. 13:35 IST