Will Maharashtra’s Nanded, Which Stood by Congress During 2014 Modi Wave, Vote for it Again?
Nanded is one of 10 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra which will go to polls on April 18.
File photo of people standing in queues to cast their votes at a polling booth. (Image: Ramana/News18)
Mumbai: Nanded was one of the only two seats of Maharashtra's 48 Lok Sabha constituencies that Congress managed to hold on to during the ‘Modi wave’ in 2014. The other was Higoli, where Rajeev Satav scraped home by 1,600 votes.
The high-profile constituency has seen campaigns in the past few days by both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Unlike Satav, Ashok Chavan, Congress' state unit chief and former Maharashtra chief minister, didn't merely withstand the BJP wave in Nanded. He managed to retain the Congress citadel, which will go to polls in two days, by a margin of nearly 80,000 votes. Except two occasions - 1989 and 2004 - Nanded has always sent its Congress candidate to Lok Sabha.
In 1980 and 1984, Chavan's father Shankarrao Chavan won from this seat and later went on to become India's finance minister (1987-1990) and home minister in the Narasimha Rao cabinet (1991 to 1996). He also served as the chief minister of Maharashtra between 1975 and 1977 and 1986 and 1988.
It was in 1987 that Ashok Chavan registered his first big political victory, a win in the Parliamentary bypoll, from Nanded. However he lost the seat to a Janata Dal candidate in 1989, after which he put his energies in state politics. He went on to become Congress' Maharashtra unit's general secretary in late 90s, assumed the state cabinet role in the Vilasrao Deshmukh government in 2003 and was appointed chief minister from 2008 to 2010. He had to resign following his alleged involvement in the Adarsh Housing scam.
Situated on the banks of river Godavari and a part of the large Marathwada belt, Nanded Lok Sabha constituency has 6 assembly seats, the MLA in one of which, Bhokar, is Ashok Chavan's wife Ameeta Ashokrao Chavan.
Nanded's electorate is made mostly of Marathas, Lingayats, Dalits and a percentage of Muslims. Both Ashok Chavan and his main political challenger, Pratap Chikhalikar, are Marathas.
BJP leader Pratap Chikhalikar has a unique distinction of being a member of all the major political parties active in Maharashtra — Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena and now the BJP — at various periods in his career, starting from 1995 when he was elected as an MLA on Congress ticket.
There are 17,19,247 voters in the constituency, where 14 candidates are in fray for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The Samajwadi Party has fielded Abdul Samad Abdul Karim and Yashpal Bhinge, a Dhangar (shepherd) community member, is contesting on Vanchit Aghadi's ticket. Nanded is one of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra which will go to polls on April 18.
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