Nagpur constituency in Vidarbha region offers a big fight this Lok Sabha election. There is seven-time MP Vilas Muttemwar from the Congress on one side, former BJP president Nitin Gadkari on the other and challenging both there is an outsider -- AAP's Anjali Damania.
The voting will be held on April 10.
Muttemwar has represented Nagpur in the Lok Sabha many times, but the contest assumes hype due to Gadkari, who is contesting his first direct election after 29 years. He lost the first one from West Nagpur assembly constituency in 1985. He is confident that the BJP will wrest the seat from the Congress this time. But, past records show that the party won only in 1996.
Gadkari is mainly banking on his charity and social work among different sections of the society, especially the minorities, to see him through.
AAP WITH AN OUTSIDER TAG
Entry of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Anjali Damania has made the battle for Nagpur a three-cornered contest, instead of a straight fight between the Congress and the BJP. However, much to Gadkari's relief, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal's rally in the city failed to create any ripples. Besides, Damania, who hails from Mumbai, carries an outsider tag in the city.
CONGRESS A DIVIDED HOUSE
What goes against the Congress is that it remains a divided house here. North Nagpur MLA and Maharashtra minister Nitin Raut is not actively supporting Muttemwar. The Muslim face of the party, Anees Ahmed, an ex-Maharashtra minister, is also not helping the Congress candidate.
Muttemwar is confident of making it five-in-a-row. "I have worked hard for the city in last five years and brought several projects, including proposed Metro rail," he said dismissing any anti-incumbency factor against him.
NAGPUR: A STRANGE MIX
The Nagpur constituency is characterised by several contrasts. It is the headquarters of the RSS and also the place where Babasaheb Ambedkar showed people a new faith to live by. Dalits, backward classes and Muslims make up about 30% of the total electorate of 18,50,000 lakh. The Congress believes this support base will not desert Muttemwar.