Battle for power intensifies in Western Maharashtra

PUNE Western Maharashtra is expected to witness a close contest between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders ahead of assembly elections on October 21. The constituencies to witness political heat include Satara (Lok Sabha), Karad south, Indapur, Solapur central and Purandar.

The key factor is that the contestants who left Congress and NCP to join BJP will face leaders of their former parties.

Satara Lok Sabha: Udayanraje Bhosale (BJP) vs Shrinivas Patil (NCP)

Along with the General Assembly elections, bypolls will be held for the Satara Lok Sabha after Udayanraje Bhosale resigned as MP and joined the BJP. The descendent of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj will fight the bypolls as a BJP candidate. While Bhosale, a resident of Satara, will play the Shivaji card; NCP-Congress has a strong base in the constituency. NCP has given the ticket to former governor Shrinivas Patil. The former IAS officer and two-time Satara MP is also from the same district.

Karad South: Prithviraj Chavan (Congress) vs Atul Bhosale (BJP)

The fight here is between Congress’s Prithviraj Chavan and BJP’s Atul Bhosale. The former chief minister of Maharashtra has been restricted by the BJP to campaign only in Karad rather than the state. In a recent interview to HT, Chavan had said, “I need to protect my constituency first. Tomorrow, if something goes wrong then the media and others would raise questions that we are unable to save our own forts”. Bhosale is the great-grandson of former minister Yashwant Mohite who represented Karad for a long time. He owns a medical college, runs Krishna medical deemed university, owns Jaywant sugar factory and a prominent stakeholder in Krishna co-operative sugar factory.

Indapur: Harshwardhan Patil (BJP) vs Mama Bharne (NCP)

Harshvardhan Patil, a former Congress leader who enjoyed ministerial post for three terms, joined BJP in September this year and will contest the election from home ground Indapur against NCP MLA Mama Bharne. NCP leader Ajit Pawar has extended support to ensure Bharne’s victory. Patil is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and performance of central and state governments.

Solapur Central: Praniti Shinde (Congress) vs Narasayya Adam (CPI-M), Farooq Shabdi (AIMIM), Dilip Mane (Shiv Sena) and Mahesh Kothe (independent candidate)

Solapur MLA Praniti Shinde, the daughter of former chief minister of Maharashtra and union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, will face a tough battle to retain the seat. There are five contenders for the seat. Shiv Sena had given the ticket to former MLA Dilip Mane, All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) to Farooq Shabdi, CPI-M to Narasayya Adam and former mayor Mahesh Kothe is contesting as an independent. Kothe and Mane are originally from Congress party.

Purandar: Vijay Shivthare vs Sanjay Jagtap

There is a close fight between the minister of state for irrigation and Shiv Sena leader Vijay Shivthare and Congress district head Sanjay Jagtap. Both the leaders hail from the constituency. Jagtap is working in the constituency for the past few years despite locals favouring BJP in the state and he poses a challenge for Shivthare. Jagtap is from a strong political background and is a businessman. He runs auto showrooms and is active in aviation business.

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