Traditionally a Congress bastion, Karad Lok Sabha constituency in western Maharashtra is likely to witness a straight fight between bureaucrat -turned politician and Congress-NCP alliance candidate Shrinivas Patil and Sena-BJP candidate Vasant Mankumbre.
The constituency has been a Congress fortress since 1957. Of 14 elections held so far, the party won 12 times and Shetkari Kamgar Paksh and NCP have bagged the seat once each.
The Chavan family has clout in this constituency. In 1957 D R Chavan was elected from here on Shetkari Kamgar Paksh ticket. He then joined Congress and was elected from here three times on a Congress ticket.
After his death in 1973, his wife Pramilatai Chavan fought on a Congress ticket and was elected for four times. Then their son Prithviraj Chavan went to Parliament from here three times.
However, in the last elections Shrinivas Patil gave a rude shock to the Chavan family and contesting as an NCP candidate defeated Prithviraj Chavan by a wide margin. This is despite the fact that there was a division of the secular votes.
Now sitting MP Patil, contesting as an alliance candidate of Congres-NCP, has a good chance of retaining the seat.
Born in Marul Haveli in Karad, Patil is very popular in this constituency as he is easily accessible to people and has an unassuming nature.
Patil has specially taken care to attend small and big functions of the people. Be it the marriage ceremony of a small farmer or death of some other person. It is this trait which helped him topple Prithviraj Chavan.
In the last election Patil polled 3,50,504 votes while Chavan polled 2,27,543 votes.
As a bureaucrat he has travelled in Maharashtra and has done commendable work. He has held various important posts including Deputy Collector (Kolhapur), Managing Director of Sangmaner Cooperative Sugar Mill (Ahmednagar), Chief Officer of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Collector Beed and Pune among others.
On June 30, 1999 he sought voluntary retirment from government service to join Sharad Pawar's NCP.
Karad constituency comprises six assembly segments inlcuding Jayali, Patan, Karad (E), Karad (W), Shirala and Valya. It is predominantly Maratha dominated.
The Koyana dam located in the constituency has contributed tremendously to industrial growth of Maharashtra by providing power.