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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Battle of the Marathas in Satara seat likely to open NCP-Congress to BJP attack

Satara Lok Sabha seat: Two cousins, both from Shivaji’s lineage, are likely to be pitted against each other in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Question is, with both from the same party -NCP - how is that going to be possible?

constituency-watch Updated: Mar 08, 2019 13:27 IST
Abhay Khairnar
Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Udayanraje Bhosale of the NCP  is the sitting MP from the Satara Lok Sabha constituency.
Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Udayanraje Bhosale of the NCP is the sitting MP from the Satara Lok Sabha constituency. (PTI File )
         

Satara was once the seat of power for Maratha Empire from where Hindu warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji ruled the region. Today, the Satara Lok Sabha constituency is represented by Shivaji’s 13th descendant and Nationalist Congress Party member Udayanraje Bhosale.

For years, Satara has been a stronghold of NCP, thanks to the Bhosales. With multiple rivers originating from the place, Satara’s western parts are agriculturally prosperous. Koyna dam, one of the largest in the state, and popular hill station Mahabaleshwar are also in Satara constituency.

 

This time though, the constituency is more likely to witness a royal clash as Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Shivendraraje Bhosale is up in the arms against Udayanraje, his cousin. While Shivendraraje is under pressure from his supporters to switch loyalties and join BJP, his recent meeting with former NCP leader and now BJP legislator Narendra Patil has increased headache for Udayanraje, who is already facing opposition within the party and is again aspiring for Lok Sabha ticket from the party.

 

 

Once represented by Maharashtra’s first chief minister Yashwantrao Chavan, Satara has given many political heavyweights including former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Looking at fissures within the NCP, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has taken personal interest and has reportedly asked Narendra Patil, MLA from Navi Mumbai and president of Annasaheb Patil Finance Development Corporation, a government body, to start preparations for fighting Lok Sabha polls from BJP.

Interestingly, Udayanraje is also exploring possibility from BJP if NCP ditches him at the last moment. Under the seat sharing formula, Satara Lok Sabha seat is with Shiv Sena but BJP wants to contest election from Satara by exchanging another seat - Palghar.

By fielding Patil, BJP aims to use his clouts among head-loaders who hail from Satara and work in Navi Mumbai. Like Udayanraje Bhosale, Patil too comes from the Maratha community, which has been given 16% reservation in government jobs and education by Fadnavis government.

 

According to Congress leaders, the chief minister has been trying to attract leaders from Congress and NCP from the district in the BJP. Top leadership from Congress confirmed that there are chances that two leaders from district would enter in BJP very soon.

“BJP is eyeing some strong candidates from Congress and NCP and luring them with various promises ahead of elections,” said Prithviraj Chavan, whose assembly constituency Karad south also falls under Satara Lok Sabha constituency.

Concerned about defection, NCP chief Sharad Pawar recently held a meeting with all the NCP leaders and Udyanraje and tried to bring them on one platform.

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First Published: Mar 08, 2019 13:21 IST

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