CONSTITUENCY WATCH | LATUR Maharashtra 2019

An uneasy BJP-Sena alliance gives advantage to Congress in Marathwada’s Latur district

Brothers Amit Deshmukh (in picture) and Dhiraj Deshmukh, sons of former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, are contesting from Latur City and Latur Gramin seats respectively.

Brothers Amit Deshmukh (in picture) and Dhiraj Deshmukh, sons of former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, are contesting from Latur City and Latur Gramin seats respectively.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

BJP’s decision to swap Latur Gramin seat for Ausa has angered local workers

The drought-hit Latur district in parched Marathwada region is a hotbed of the brewing tensions within an uneasy electoral alliance of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena. A delimitation exercise had ensured the Renapur seat was divided into Parli and Latur Gramin constituencies. Earlier, Renapur was the stronghold of late BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who won it five times. But now the region is symptomatic of the gaps in a pre-poll alliance between the saffron partners who are facing rebellion from Latur Gramin and the neighbouring Ausa constituency deep inside the Marathwada hinterland.

The BJP’s decision to swap Latur Gramin with Sena for the Ausa seat has sparked rebellion within the saffron ranks. The Sena workers have held protests in Ausa against the BJP's candidature of Abhimanyu Pawar, a personal assistant to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The BJP local unit has in turn carried out a highway blockade to express its anger over the party’s decision to swap Latur Gramin seat with the Shiv Sena.

The local BJP unit is now looking at the option of choosing None Of The Above (NOTA) sign during polling on October 21. They cite the party’s control over all the eight gram panchayat samiti seats and almost all of the 10 nagar parishad seats while making a point against the Sena, which had polled only 2500 votes in the 2014 state elections. The workers are angry that they have not been given a reason for a swap in circumstances where they are sure to win it big for the party.

“'The basic reason for our revolt is that the party has not been able to explain the logic for letting go of a seat which has been ours for several decades. Our local leader and previous candidate Ramesh Appa Karad has laid the ground work and carried forward Gopinath Munde’s legacy in the area. Yet the party for some reasons known to itself has swapped this seat with Sena. We will not let Sena win at any cost from here,” said Abhishek Akangire, the BJP’s Nagar Adyaksha from Renapur, which falls under Latur Gramin.

Other party leaders too have complained to the party high command against the decision to forego the seat in favour of the Shiv Sena. “'We have written to the Chief Minister and even to the party president expressing our anger. While we will work within the party, we cannot support anybody else in future,” said BJP corporator from the area, Datta Saravade.

The brewing rebellion has ensured it is advantage Congress, which has fielded former Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s sons Amit and Dhiraj from the two neighbouring seats in the Latur district. Amit Deshmukh is the sitting MLA and contesting from Latur city, while Dhiraj Deshmukh will be testing his luck from Latur Gramin.

“We have decided to vote for the Congress this time since the BJP and Sena seem to be swapping seats to satisfy personal equations. The village has always voted for the BJP but we are upset that the work of Ramesh Appa Karad has been ignored by the party (BJP),”' said Laxman Narayan Rao Yadav, a 52-year-old farmer from Murdhav village, located nine kilometres from Renapur taluka.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 4:25:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/maharashtra-assembly/an-uneasy-bjp-sena-alliance-gives-advantage-to-congress/article29729804.ece

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