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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: BJP fields Congress turncoat Naik Nimbalkar for Madha

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis upped the ante on Madha post Pawar’s withdrawal and the party, on Friday, picked Naik Nimbalkar over Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil

people Updated: Mar 30, 2019 14:48 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
CM Devendra Fadnavis (second from left) welcomes Rajitsinh Naik Nimbalkar (second from right) into the BJP in Mumbai earlier this week.(HT PHOTO)

Sharad Pawar and his decision to not contest the Lok Sabha elections 2019 from Madha, moved this rural western Maharashtra seat into the limelight in terms of, who would claim the seat once held by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president.

The battle line, after much delay and deliberation, has now been drawn.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded former Satara district Congress chief, Ranjitsinh Naik Nimbalkar. He will take on Sanjay Shinde of the NCP, president of the Solapur Zilla Parishad and a close associate of Ajit Pawar.

Madha will go to polls on April 23.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis upped the ante on Madha post Pawar’s withdrawal and the party, on Friday, picked Naik Nimbalkar over Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil.

Earlier this week, Fadnavis asked all BJP-Sena leaders from Madha not to even think of covertly helping the NCP-Congress candidate. Fadnavis, according to senior party members, reminded these leaders of the help he offered them in the past, saying the Madha seat is a matter of personal prestige for him.

While the sitting member of parliament from Madha is Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, the seat was represented by Sharad Pawar from 2009 to 2014.

Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil, son of senior NCP leader Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, left the NCP to join the BJP as his desire to contest the Lok Sabha elections found no draw in the party.

Ranjitsinh Naik Nimbalkar is the son of Shiv Sena leader Hindurao Naik Nimbalkar and enjoys clout in two assembly segments of Satara district, which falls under the Madha Lok Sabha seat.

Madha Lok Sabha constituency has six assembly constituencies, of which Karmala, Madha, Sangola and Malshiras are from Solapur district, while Phaltan and Man come under Satara district.

The BJP believes that with Naik Nimbalkar in the race, it can get votes from Satara, while induction of Mohite-Patil will ensure votes from four assembly segments falling under Solapur district.

To wrest the seat from NCP, BJP has planned to induct yet another Congress leader into its fold - this time from Solapur; Kalyan Kale has made up his mind to switch loyalties and join BJP. Kale unsuccessfully contested the Assembly polls in 2014, losing to NCP’s Baban Shinde by 65,000 votes.

Battle for Madha

Ranjitsinh Naik Nimbalkar of BJP versus Sanjay Shinde of NCP

Naik Nimbalkar moved from Congress to BJP, while Shinde is president of Solapur ZP

Madha is a rural constituency and all issues are related to agriculture.

Incomplete irrigation projects is of the biggest issue in Madha.

Naik Nimbalkar’s Baramati battle cry

During his induction into the BJP in Mumbai, in the presence of chief minister Devenra Fadnavis, Naik Nimbalkar declared his fight as being against those from Baramati. “People from Baramati always created roadblocks in the development of the region I comes from,” he said.

First Published: Mar 30, 2019 14:42 IST