Osmanabad Lok Sabha election, neck to neck competition
Even as the Nehru-Gandhi family's fourth generation is seen becoming active at the national level, the fight in Maharashtra is left to the third generation of politicians.
The third generation of Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar is seen campaigning for Dr Padmasinh Patil, a very close relative of Pawar, in Osmanabad. Parth, son of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has also been seen campaigning along with Malhar, the grandson of Dr Patil.
Traditionally a Congress bastion since 1957 for 10 years, it was only on three occasions that the Shiv Sena has managed to wrest the Osmanabad Lok Sabha seat away from the Congress, while the NCP won once in 2009.
This election will see old faces, sitting MP Dr Patil and his old arch rival Shiv Sena's Prof Ravindra Gaikwad, who lost the 2009 election by a slim margin of 6,314 votes, competing for the Osmanabad LS constituency.
Among the 27 candidates contesting this election, AAP's Vikram Salve and BJP's rebel Rohan Deshmukh are contesting as independents, while others from smaller parties and independents are also trying their luck in the poll fray.
There are total 1,87,859 voters who will franchise their votes in 1,971 polling booths in the constituency, which is dominated by Marathas, followed by Dhangar and Muslims as well as OBCs.
Osmanabad LS constituency is typically carved out of three districts -- Osmanabad, Latur and Solapur -- comprising six assembly segments of Ausa, Osmanabad, Umarga, Tuljapur, Paranda and Barshi.
The NCP candidate in Osmanabad, Dr Patil, a strong Maratha man who is very close relative of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, was in jail after a CBI inquiry in connection to his step-brother Pawan Raje Nimbalkar's murder case. He is now freed after securing bail from the high court.
While Pawar himself is putting his weight behind Dr Patil NCP heavyweights Dy. CM Ajit Pawar, Party Pradesh chief Bhaskar Jadhav,working president Jitendra Awahad, MP Adv. Majid Menon, Surjeet Singh Khunger, Home minister RR Paitl and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan are also already campaigning for Dr Patil.
Meanwhile, in Sena-BJP-RPI-A-SSS-RSP camp (Mahayuti), Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, MLC Nilam Gore, BJP senior leader Gopinath Munde and others alliance partner leaders are campaign in favour of Prof. Gaikwad, who is also by cast a Maratha.
After the NCP declared Dr Patil's name for Osmanabad, anti-corruption crusader and guardian Anna Hazare in March declared that he would campaign against him in Osmanabad and added that he had proof against Dr Patil and would appeal to people not to vote for him.
Hazare, has also registered a complaint against Dr Patil in 2009 at the Parner police station, accusing Dr Patil of hiring contract killers to eliminate him (Hazare).
Later Hazare decided to take up hunger strike in Osmanabad on April 14, against Dr Patil but the district administration refused him permission citing law and order problem and clarified that Hazare can sit at any other places, except Osmanabad, Tuljapur and Kalamb.
Allegations and counter allegations between Hazare and Dr Patil against each other was seen during their various campaignd during the past fortnight.
While, BJP's rebel Rohan Deshmukh, also hailing from the Maratha community, who has put his hat in poll arena after being denied a party ticket may prove to be a headache to both main candidates,even as AAP's Salve is not expected to make his impression in the election.
Osmanabad LS constituency was reserved for SC since 1977 to 2009 LS elections. In 2009, the constituency became open general category and Dr Patil won the election against Prof. Gaikwad in a straight fight.
In all the past LS elections in this constituency, Congress candidates had won ten times, Shiv Sena three times and NCP won in 2009.
Already Aditya Thackeray, the thrid generation of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray is making his mark in politics.
(Posted on 13-04-2014)