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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

From CMs to debutants:Top 15 contests in Maharashtra, Haryana assembly elections

While the BJP is seeking to add to its electoral success by retaining control over the Maharashtra and Haryaan assemblies, the Opposition is keen to regain lost ground and chart its revival.

assembly-elections Updated: Oct 21, 2019 11:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis (left) , the BJP cnadidate from Nagpur South West assembly seat , is contesting against Ashish Deshmukh of Congress in the October 21 Maharashtra assembly election.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis (left) , the BJP cnadidate from Nagpur South West assembly seat , is contesting against Ashish Deshmukh of Congress in the October 21 Maharashtra assembly election. (HT Photos )
         

Voting for the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections - the first set of elections after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls - is taking place on Monday, October 21.

While the BJP is seeking to add to its electoral success by retaining control over the two state assemblies, the Opposition is keen to regain lost ground and chart its revival.

In Maharashtra, the main contest is between BJP-Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP alliances. Aaditya Thackeray, the son of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is one of the most prominent candidates here as he makes his electoral debut from Worli seat.

In Haryana, the incumbent chief minister ML Khattar, former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and political debutants are in the fray in the state. Both political and dynastic prestige are at stake here.

Here are the top 15 contests in the two states:

MAHARASHTRA

1. Nagpur south west: Battle for second capital

Main candidates 2019 - Devendra Fadnavis (BJP), Ashish Deshmukh (Congress)

2014 Results - Devendra Fadnavis (BJP) won by 48,000 votes over Prafulla Gudadhe-Patil (Congress)

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is seeking re-election from the Nagpur south west constituency in the state’s second capital. His main opponent is Congress’s Ashish Deshmukh, son of former state Congress chief Ranjit Deshmukh. Ashish resigned as a BJP MLA from nearby Katol constituency ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Nagpur south west is a predominantly urban middle class constituency, comprising mostly Bramhin and Kunbi (a sub-caste of Marathas) voters and is considered a BJP bastion. Fadnavis is a four-term MLA. When the Opposition looked to corner the CM by stating that he was not giving time to his constituency, the BJP launched the ‘Mee Pan Devendra’ campaign to generate pride among voters that they would be electing the chief minister of the state for a second term.

2. Worli: A much-awaited debut

Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray (left) is making his electoral debut in 2019 Maharashtra assembly election. He is pitted against NCP’s  Suresh Mane.
Shiv Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray (left) is making his electoral debut in 2019 Maharashtra assembly election. He is pitted against NCP’s Suresh Mane. ( HT Photos )

Main candidates 2019 - Aaditya Thackeray (Shiv Sena), Suresh Mane(NCP)

2014 results - Sunil Shinde (Shiv Sena) won by 23, 012 votes over Sachin Ahir (NCP)

Shiv Sena has picked Worli for the debut of Thackeray scion Aaditya who is also the first member of the party’s first family to contest an election.

The contest has become an attraction in this election. After Sachin Ahir, Nationalist Congress Party’s Mumbai chief defected to Shiv Sena earlier this year, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) fielded Suresh Mane, a former state president of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and a Dalit activist.

The Sena is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that Aaditya wins by a huge margin. While Aaditya is promising to develop infrastructure in Worli, Mane insists Aaditya is an outsider in the constituency.

3. Parli: Family feud in focus

Main candidates 2019 -Pankaja Munde(BJP, Dhananjay Munde (NCP)

2014 results -Pankaja Munde (BJP) won by 25,895 votes over Dhananjay Munde (NCP)

Rural Development minister and BJP’s OBC face Pankanja Munde is seeking her third term from Parli, a constituency that was once represented by her father and former Union minister Gopinath Munde. Pankaja rode the sympathy wave in 2014, after her father’s death in June that year. Dhananjay Munde, Leader of Opposition in the legislative council joined NCP in 2013 after a falling out with his uncle, as the latter chose his daughter as his political heir. Elections in Parli, located in Beed district are often fought over emotive issues related to Gopinath Munde’s legacy. Though Pankaja and her younger sister and party MP Pritam have won elections, Dhananjay has control over local bodies. Both of them bank on votes of their Wanjari community, who are dominant in the constituency.

4. Baramati: Fight for Pawar citadel

Main candidates 2019: Ajit Pawar(NCP, Gopichand Padalkar(BJP)

2014 results - Ajit Pawar (NCP) won by a margin of 90,000 votes over Prabhakar Gawade (BJP)

Baramati is a known Pawar family stronghold. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar is credited with transforming this once parched area into a model of development with ample availability of water and a rich complex of cooperatives of textile, sugar and dairy industries.

Pawar’s nephew and number two in his party, Ajit has won six assembly elections from here and is now seeking a seventh term. The BJP has fielded Gopichand Padalkar, a leader of Dhangar community that is in significant numbers in Baramati, in order to target ‘uncle-nephew’ duo.

Last month, the Enforcement Directorate named Ajit and Sharad Pawar in relation to an alleged loan fraud in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank.

5. Kankavli: BJP-Sena flashpoint seat

Main Candidates 2019 : Nitesh Rane (BJP, Satish Sawant (Shiv Sena)

2014 results - Nitesh Rane (then Congress) won by 25,995 votes over Pramod Jathar (BJP)

Former chief minister and Congress leader Narayan Rane’s son Nitesh is contesting on a BJP ticket after he quit the Congress earlier this month.

The enmity between Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Rane — a former Sena man — is back in focus as this is the only constituency in Maharashtra where Sena has fielded a candidate opposite BJP though the two parties are in alliance. Ignoring Sena’s objection, CM Devendra Fadnavis addressed a campaign rally for Nitesh last week, while Uddhav Thackeray took out a rally for Sena candidate Satish Sawant the following day.

The BJP’s local unit is supporting Nitesh who has promised development of industry and tourism in the district while the Sena is urging people to end the reign of the Ranes in the region.

6. Bhokar: Battle for Cong bastion

Main Candidates 2019: Ashok Chavan(Congress), BD Gorthekar (BJP)

2014 results - Ameeta Chavan (Congress) won by 47,557 votes over Madhavrao Kinhalkar (BJP)

Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan is facing BJP’s Bapusaheb Deshmukh Gorthekar from the constituency.

Chavan, who was the state unit chief of his party until May this year, had to face defeat from Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prataprao Chikhalikar in the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, in which the Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi candidate polled 1.66 lakh votes.

Chavan, a three-term MLA from here, successfully fought the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Nanded and his wife succeeded him in the assembly seat of Bhokar. By contrast, the BJP candidate and former NCP leader BD Gorthekar has been inactive in politics for the past few years.

7. Karjat-Jamkhed: Pawar grandson in fray

Main Candidates 2019 : Ram Shinde(BJP, Rohit Pawar (NCP)

2014 results -Shinde won by 37,816 votes over Ramesh Khade (Shiv Sena)

Rohit Pawar, grandson of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, is contesting his first election from Karjat-Jamkhed seat in Ahmednagar district.

Unlike other political dynasts who have soft launches in safe constituencies, Pawar has taken on a gamble by challenging Ram Shinde, who belongs to the special backward community of Dhangars, in a BJP bastion.

For the last 25 years, Karjat-Jamkhed has been a BJP stronghold. The constituency has people from the Maratha community, as well as Other Backward Classes (Mali and Vanjari) in significant numbers.

Pawar has been working behind the scenes in the constituency for almost a year. On the other hand, Shinde has been a locally popular MLA. The contest is being seen as one of the more high profile ones in the state.

8. Kothrud: MNS may play spoiler

Main candidates 2019: Chandrakant Patil (BJP), Kishor Shinde (MNS)

2014 results - Medha Kulkarni (BJP) won by 45,000 votes over Chandrakant Mokate (Shiv Sena)

Chandrakant Patil, Bharatiya Janata Party’s state unit chief, makes his electoral debut from the Kothrud constituency in Pune city.

The Opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance has supported Maharashtra Navnirman Sena candidate Kishor Shinde who is a local councillor. Patil’s standing is at stake in the constituency that has Bramhin and Maratha voters in significant numbers.

Patil, himself a Maratha leader, is hoping that the Bramhin voters will vote for him. BJP asked its sitting MLA Medha Kulkarni to make way for Patil, who rented a flat in the constituency and has been mostly camping in Kothrud.

As the head of party’s state unit , Patil is considered the number 2 in Maharashtra BJP after CM Devendra Fadnavis.

9.Yeola: Bhujbal seeks 4th term

Main candidates 2019: Chhagan Bhujbal(NCP), Sambhaji Pawar (Shiv Sena)

2014 results - Chhagan Bhujbal (NCP) won by 46,442 votes over Sambhaji Pawar (Shiv Sena)

One of the top leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Chhagan Bhujbal, is seeking a fourth consecutive term from Yeola in Nashik district. Bhujbal was behind the bars for more than two years in cases related to money laundering filed by the Enforcement Directorate.

There was some talk of Bhujbal negotiating with Shiv Sena to return to the party that he had left in 1991 following differences with its founder late Bal Thackeray.

However, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was reportedly not keen to bring him back in the fold. Sena candidate Sambhaji Pawar has accused Bhujbal of failing to address the issues of Yeola for the last 15 years, including that of water supply.

The Shiv Sena, which has a strong presence in the district, has been unable to breach Bhujbal’s bastion since 2004.

HARYANA

Haryana chief minister ML Khattar (left) is seeking a second term while former BSF jawan Tej Bahadur is a debutant candidate contesting on JJP ticket.
Haryana chief minister ML Khattar (left) is seeking a second term while former BSF jawan Tej Bahadur is a debutant candidate contesting on JJP ticket. ( HT Photos )

10. Karnal: CM up against BSF ex- jawan

Main Candidates 2019: ML Khattar (BJP), Tej Bahadur (JJP)

2014 result - ML Khattar (BJP) defeated Jai Prakash Gupta (Independent) by 63,773 votes

Incumbent chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, is contesting from the Karnal seat for a second time, after winning from the constituency by over 63,000 votes in the last assembly election.

A total of 11 candidates, including the former chairman of the Haryana minority commission and Congress leader Tarlochan Singh and former Border Security Force (BSF) jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav, are in the fray from the seat.

Khattar is banking on his government’s clean governance image and the key steps taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre, including the revocation of Article 370, to win the election. His rivals, however, point to what they call a rise in unemployment and crime rate in the state, to counter the CM. Confident of winning from the seat, Khattar said during one of his campaign rallies:?“People of Karnal have a chance to elect a chief minister. Why will they vote for anyone else?”

11. Garhi Sampla-Kiloli: Former CM in the fray

Main Candidates 2019: Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Congress), Satish Nandal (BJP)

2014 result - Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Congress) defeated Satish Nandal (then in INLD) by 47, 185 votes

Congress’s Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who has been the chief minister twice and a parliamentarian four times, is seeking re-election from his home constituency.

A rural seat in Rohtak district, Garhi Sampla-Kiloi has a dominant Jat vote bank, with over two lakh voters. Thirteen candidates are contesting from this seat, with Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Satish Nandal considered to be Hooda’s main rival. Hooda defeated Nandal, a former Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader, in 2009 and 2014 for the constituency, which came into being 10 years ago after a delimitation exercise. Before that the constituency was known as Kiloi. Supply of water and power along with availability of health services continue to be the main poll issues in the area, with Hooda accusing the state government of halting development work in his constituency.

12.Kaithal: Battle for Cong bastion

Main Candidates 2019: Randeep Surjewala(Congress), Leela Ram Gurjar (BJP)

2014 results - Randeep Singh Surjewala (Congress) won by 23,675 votes over Kailash Bhagat (INLD)

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala is seeking a third term as a member of the legislative assembly from Kaithal, a seat that his father Shamsher Surjewala had also represented Kaithal in 2005.

Surjewala is up against Leela Ram Gurjar, a former Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) member of legislative assembly (MLA) from the same constituency. Gurjar’s candidature has turned it into a direct electoral contest between a Jat and a Gujjar. In this primarily urban seat, Jats are the single-largest community, followed by Gujjars.

Considered a stronghold of Surjewala, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has never won this seat. The party’s political bigwigs, including home minister Amit Shah and Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Krishan Pal Gurjar, have held campaign rallies in the constituency in an attempt to wrest it from Surjewala.

13. Gurgaon: Fight for Millennium City

Main Candidates 2019: Sudhir Singla (BJP), Sukbhir Kataria(Congress)

2014 results - Umesh Aggarwal (BJP) won by 84,095 votes over Gopi Chand Gahlot (INLD)

The Gurgaon assembly constituency will witness a contest between a first-timer and a former (MLA), with the BJP fielding debutante Sudhir Singla and the Congress placing its bets on former state sports and youth affairs minister Sukhbir Kataria who served as an MLA in 2009.

Son of former minister and BJP veteran Sita Ram Singla, Sudhir is new to electoral politics and is banking on the legacy of his father to win the election to the state assembly. He was given the ticket over incumbent MLA Umesh Aggarwal.

14. Ellenabad; A triangular contest

Main Candidates 2019: Abhay Singh Chautala(INLD), Pawan Beniwal (BJP), Bharat Singh Beniwal(Cong)

2014 results - Abhay Chautala (INLD) won by 11,439 votes over Pawan Beniwal (BJP)

Abhay Chautala, the incumbent MLA, has won on three occasions but he is facing a tough competition from aide-turned-rival Pawan Beniwal of the BJP. Veteran Congress leader Bharat Singh Beniwal is also a key contestant from the Jat dominating rural segment. Ellenabad is a traditional political bastion of the INLD. It has a predominance of Jat voters followed by Sikhs, Jat Sikhs and Brahmins. It also has a sizeable presence of Dalits and OBC communities.

15. Uchana Kalan: Dynasties fight for power

Main Candidates 2019: Prem Lata (BJP), Dushyant Chautala(JJP)

2014 results -Prem Lata (BJP) won by 7,480 votes over Dushyant Chautala (INLD)

Prem Lata, wife of three-time parliamentarian and five-time member of legislative assembly (MLA) Birender Singh, is up against Jannayak Janta Party’s (JJP) Dushyant Chautala, whom she had defeated in the 2014 assembly elections.

Chautala, son of former parliamentarian Ajay Chautala and grandson of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) president Om Prakash Chautala, floated the JJP last year after he was expelled from the INLD along with his father and younger brother.

The Uchana segment falls in the Hisar Lok Sabha constituency, with limited education and employment opportunities being the key poll issues. Several areas of the region also face a water shortage. A Jat dominated seat, the constituency also has members of Scheduled Caste (SC), Other Backward Classes (OBC) and Brahmin communities.