Wardha Lok Sabha seat: NCP (SP) seeks to wrest erstwhile Congress bastion from BJP | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Wardha Lok Sabha seat: NCP (SP) seeks to wrest erstwhile Congress bastion from BJP

Apr 09, 2024 01:40 PM IST

NCP (SP) leader Sharad Pawar joined the party nominee Amar Kale’s nomination rally in Wardha, the only seat the party is contesting in the Vidarba region

Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) or NCP (SP) leader Sharad Pawar began his party’s Lok Sabha poll campaign from Maharashtra’s Wardha. He joined NCP (SP) nominee Amar Kale’s nomination rally as the party hopes to wrest the only seat it is contesting in the Vidarba region from the two-term Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Ramdas Tadas.

NCP had over the years left the seat for the Congress. (HT PHOTO)
NCP had over the years left the seat for the Congress. (HT PHOTO)

Kale, who belongs to the influential Other Backward Class (OBC) Kunbi community, is a two-time lawmaker and NCP (SP) leader Anil Deshmukh’s nephew. He joined the NCP (SP) last month. Kale hopes to gain from the sizable Kunbi presence in the constituency.

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NCP had over the years left the seat for Congress. But this time NCP (SP) got the seat after giving up on its claim over the Bhandara-Gondia and Buldhana seats.

Wardha, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed for six years, was for decades a Congress bastion. Kamalnayan Bajaj, Vasant Sathe and Prabha Rau were among those who represented it in Lok Sabha.

Kale said they were fighting to save the Constitution. He added people fear if the BJP comes into power, it will change the Constitution and go for a dictatorial form of government. “I am getting good responses in all rallies and sure that I am winning with a comfortable margin.”

Kale echoed Pawar’s comments at his rally in Wardha. Pawar called for defeating forces “weakening the Constitution”. Pawar said the country was facing an “undeclared emergency” and that the 2024 Lok Sabha election is important to safeguard their rights.

At a rally in Wardha, deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ridiculed the Congress and took potshots at Pawar for helping to make the constituency Congress-free. “We must thank Pawar for achieving what we [BJP] could not do in Wardha. He ensured that the Congress symbol disappears from here.”

Tadas, who belongs to the Teli community, said that he was banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “development agenda”. He added Wardha would contribute to the BJP’s mission of winning over 400 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

Tadas’s estranged daughter-in-law, Pooja Shendre, has also filed nomination papers as an independent candidate even as his election representative unsuccessfully filed an objection to her candidature.

Shendre said she wanted justice for her son and women who suffer like her. “I have suffered physically and mentally because of my in-laws, and want to get justice democratically. My father-in-law also objected to my nomination, but it was accepted.” Shendre said her fight was for the rights of women who suffer because of in-laws.

Congress district chief Manoj Chandurkar said they were campaigning at the zilla parishad level rather than holding big meetings which require more time and effort. He added they were raising issues such as growing unemployment, inflation, issues of women, youth, electoral bonds, Constitutional values, etc.

BJP leader Avinash Deo said they were campaigning door to door and conducting booth-level events to increase the party’s vote share. “In 2019, BJP got 53.04% votes and plans to increase it by at least 5%. Our target would be new voters, beneficiaries of different BJP government schemes, and senior citizens.”

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