Modi-Shah rallies will have no impact in Satara, says Chavan

Public outreach: Former CM Prithviraj Chavan arrives to address a women supporters’ meeting recently as part of election campaign at Karad.

Public outreach: Former CM Prithviraj Chavan arrives to address a women supporters’ meeting recently as part of election campaign at Karad.  

Congress leader claims BJP candidate will lose LS bypoll by over two lakh votes

Claiming that the rallies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah would have no impact on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) fortunes in the crucial Satara Lok Sabha by-election, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Monday said the BJP’s candidate, Udayanraje Bhosale, would lose the bypoll by a margin of more than two lakh votes.

“Had I contested the Satara by-election, I would have won by a margin of more than two lakh votes, and I am confident that the current candidate — the NCP’s Shriniwas Patil — will defeat Mr. Bhosale by that same margin,” Mr. Chavan said.

The Satara bypoll, which is to be held along with the Assembly polls on October 21, has been necessitated by the resignation of Mr. Bhosale — the former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP from Satara — who switched alliances to join the BJP.

The former CM refuted allegations that he had shied away from contesting the by-election. “The NCP was keen that I contest. While the Congress high command had no objection, the people of my Assembly constituency [Karad South] desired that I ought to contest the Assembly election.”

The Congressman, who is seeking re-election for the second time from the hotly-contested Karad South Assembly segment in Satara district, claimed that while the PM had initially planned to hold a rally in Karad, he sent his ‘number 2’ man (Mr. Shah) instead as he already sensed the BJP’s defeat in that segment.

He further rebuked Mr. Shah over the latter’s self-congratulation over scrapping of Article 370 and ‘uniting’ India. “It is thanks to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress that Kashmir has remained an integral part of India till today…Instead of his bluster over how the BJP government removed Article 370, Mr. Shah ought to do some serious and careful study over the issues and problems facing Kashmir.”

On Sunday, Mr. Shah and the BJP staged a massive show of strength in Karad, with Mr. Shah taunting Mr. Chavan that the BJP’s youth wing was sufficient to defeat him in the Assembly polls. Mr. Modi, too, is scheduled to hold a rally in Satara on October 17. Mr. Chavan is pitted against the BJP’s Atul Bhosale, a local sugar baron.

The BJP is throwing its full weight behind Mr. Bhosale, a direct descendant of the Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, and Mr. Atul Bhosale.

In the 2014 Assembly polls, Mr. Chavan had won a hard-fought contest in which he was against Mr. Atul Bhosale, while staving off formidable opposition within his own party in the form of seven-time Karad MLA Vilas Patil Undalkar, popularly known as ‘Kaka’, who had contested as an Independent.

After Mr. Chavan declined to contest, the NCP-Congress alliance picked Mr. Patil, the former Governor of Sikkim who had contested and won the Lok Sabha elections twice — in 1999 and 2004 — from the erstwhile Karad Lok Sabha constituency before its delimitation prior to the 2009 polls.

With the BJP’s ascendancy at the Centre and in the State, political equations have changed overnight in Satara, which hitherto was dominated by the NCP.

Following the Lok Sabha polls this year, both royals — Shivendrasinh Bhosale, the former NCP MLA of Satara, and Mr. Bhosale, the ex-NCP MP of Satara — defected to the BJP.

The NCP currently holds three of the six Assembly segments in the district: Koregaon (Shashikant Shinde), Wai (Makarand Patil), and Karad North (Balasaheb Patil), while Mr. Chavan holds the Karad South seat — the sole Congress borough.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 12:53:12 PM |

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