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Battle for Baramati: BJP’s Pawar play is PM Narendra Modi

people Updated: Mar 28, 2019 14:49 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
Baramati,Supriya Sule,Sharad Pawar

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses an election campaign rally in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, March 28. (REUTERS)

In terms of star campaigners, Priyanka Gandhi might be leading the early race for the Congress party, but there is no denying that come election day, April 23 for Baramati, prime minister Narendra Modi will be the man to watch.

Girish Bapat, state guardian minister and BJP Lok Sabha candidate for Pune this Lok Sabha elections, forecasts that Narendra Modi will address a rally in Baramati days before the Sharad Pawar-home town goes to vote.

Political observers and election analysts are viewing the “Modi in Baramati” plan as being an indicator of just how much the BJP want to win the seat this time.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP lost the seat to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) by a narrow margin This time, the BJP nominee Kanchan Kul will take on the sitting NCP MP, Supriya Sule, Sharad Pawar’s daughter.

Speaking in Daund as part of Kul’s campaign, Bapat, on Tuesday said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis have planned public rallies in Baramati.”

Sule has begun her campaign on an aggressive note. Addressing workers in Daund on Tuesday, she said, “I am a Marathi woman and will pick-up a sword in order to deal with injustice.”

That “sword” won Sule the last election in 2014 with margin of just 70,000 votes. Her 2009 victory was by a margin of 3.25 lakh votes.

The BJP is aware and ready. BJP party chief Amit Shah, speaking in Pune last month, said, “BJP will definitely win Baramati this time. The party will do everything to fulfil its dream, that it couldn’t in 2014.”

Modi and Sharad Pawar have a “blow hot, blow cold” long-distance relationship. Modi has praised Pawar, on multiple occasions, and did not address any public rally for the BJP in 2014 in Baramati.

In 2019, he will.

In 2019 —20.77 lakh (till Feb)

Voting date: April 23

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 14:48 IST