Former Cong MLA and state party GS Namdeo Usendi joins BJP | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Former Cong MLA and state party GS Namdeo Usendi joins BJP

Mar 27, 2024 08:14 AM IST

Former Congress MLA Dr Namdeo Usendi joins BJP in Gadchiroli, praising PM Modi's development agenda. BJP confident of winning all 10 Vidarbha Lok Sabha seats. Opposition parties gear up for battle in Nagpur and Chandrapur.

NAGPUR: Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the opposition Congress has suffered a major setback in the tribal belt of Gadchiroli district as its former MLA and general secretary of the state — Dr Namdeo Usendi joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday in the presence of state BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule.

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Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda, he expressed confidence that the BJP and its alliance partners will win all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in the Vidarbha region. He said he did not join the party under any pressure, as his decision to join the BJP was driven by a vision for a better future for the country, particularly Maharashtra, and to strengthen the ‘Mahayuti’ alliance in the state.

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Dr Usendi, a postgraduate in medicine and former president of the state tribal cell had contested as the Congress nominee in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST) constituency but lost both times to Ashok Nete of the BJP.

Usendi’s dissatisfaction with the Congress stemmed from the nomination of Dr Namdev Kirsan, an excise official-turned-politician, as its candidate this time. The BJP has re-nominated Ashok Nete, a two-time sitting MP from the constituency. “I will ensure that Nete will retain the seat with huge margins,” Usendi said.

Meanwhile, the Congress candidate Vikas Thakre on Tuesday filed his nomination for the Nagpur Lok Sabha constituency in the presence of state party chief Nana Patole, Leader of the Opposition Vijay Wadettiwar, and other senior leaders of the MVA. Thakre, a sitting MLA from Nagpur West assembly constituency, will contest against BJP stalwart and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari in the upcoming elections.

Thakre highlighted the ideological contrast between the two parties, emphasising the fight to protect the Constitution against forces seeking to undermine it. He criticized the 10-year NDA government’s tenure, alleging a lack of justice for the common people in Nagpur. “This is a battle between two ideologies; one is fighting to save the Constitution, while the other is working to damage the Constitution. Opposition parties will fight collectively to save the Constitution and democracy,” he said.

In Chandrapur, Maharashtra’s Minister for Forests, Sudhir Mungantiwar, filed his nomination papers in a massive show of strength, accompanied by Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP chief Bawankule, among other senior party leaders. Fadnavis expressed confidence in victory, citing a new beginning and promising to surpass previous records of winning margins in Maharashtra.

Mungantiwar will face Congress candidate Pratibha Dhanorkar, a Congress MLA from the district and widow of the late Congress Lok Sabha member Balu Dhanorkar. Balu Dhanorkar, who won as the sole Congress Lok Sabha member from Maharashtra in the 2019 general elections, passed away last year.

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