In the third phase of the Lok Sabha election, Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli in Western Maharashtra and Beed, Jalna and Aurangabad in Marathwada will vote.
To gain complete control of the sugar belt, the Bharatiya Janata Party has created a split in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, which currently control the sugar cooperatives and private mills.
The chairman of a cooperative wields political clout equivalent to that of a member of the legislative assembly and every sugar mill has a work area equal to the boundary of the assembly constituency. Cooperatives are the power and financial centre of that particular area, which should explain the BJP’s intense craving for control.
Sangli gave the state its second chief minister – Vasantdada Patil. A three-time CM, Vasantdada was one of the tallest political leaders of western Maharashtra and the state. He established and strengthened the cooperative sector over several decades, from his base in Sangli district.
After his death in 1989, this crucial constituency in the sugar belt – a Congress stronghold – continued to be held by a member of his family for nearly 25 years, through six general elections.
In 1989, Vasantdada’s son, Prakashbapu Patil became the MP from Sangli and was re-elected four times, until his death in 2005. Following Prakashbapu’s death, his son Pratik Patil held the seat till 2014, when it was won by the BJP’s Sanjaykaka Patil.
Know your candidate
Sanjaykaka Patil was the NCP leader from Sangli. After differences with the then home minister, the late RR Patil, Sanjaykaka joined the BJP before 2014 and won the seat. He had exposed corruption and mismanagement in the sugar cooperative mill controlled by the late RR Patil. This was the reason for his being sidelined by the NCP.
What people think about their sitting MP
Sadanand Deshmukh, political analyst
Sitting MP Sanjaykaka Patil had won in 2014 as a result of the Modi wave. His performance in Parliament has been poor. Neither has he maintained contact with his constituents after winning nor has he tried to strengthen the party he joined before the 2014 polls. He is not acceptable to the local BJP cadre.
Gajanan Patil, farmer
Kaka was a rival of the late RR ‘Aaba’ Patil. For farmers and the common man, Aaba was like God. Kaka won only because of Modi. This time Sumantai, Aaba’s wife, is with Vishal Patil. Farmers are happy with Vishal, as he has given the first instalment of fair and remunerative price (FRP) before time. Kaka, on the contrary, had tried to shut down the sugar mill controlled by Aaba.
Votes won in 2014
Questions asked in
(debated on 12)
Private Member’s Bills
Vishal Patil (Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana -SSS)
Vishal is the grandson of the late Vasantdatda Patil and the younger brother of Pratik. A seat-sharing formula saw Sangli going to the Raju Shetti-led SSS.
It then became the bone of contention for the Congress, the NCP and the SSS. Pratik Patil, a two-time Congress MP, had quit the Congress before the polls.
Vishal is the chairman of the Vasantdada Cooperative Sugar Mill and it is the only mill from the western Maharashtra region, which has given fair and remunerative price (FRP) to farmers.
Miraj: Suresh Khade (BJP)
Sangli: Dhananjay Gadgil (BJP)
Palus-Kadegaon: Vishwajeet Kadam (Congress)
Khanapur: Anil Babar (Shiv Sena)
Suman RR Patil (NCP)
Jaat: Vilasrao Jagtap (BJP)
Total Voters: 17,92,131
Ahmednagar is the district where India’s first cooperative sugar mill was started by Padmashri Dr Vithalrao Vikhe-Patil. Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil is the grandson of Vithalrao, while Dr Sujay Vikhe is his great grandson. The Vikhe-Patils have been changing their political ideology according to the need of the times.
The late Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil, member of Parliament from the Shiv Sena, was in the cabinet of the late Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajapayee. Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil too was in the Sena during the BJP-Sena alliance government in 1995.
Later, he joined the Congress and is currently leader of the opposition in the legislative assembly. His son Sujay, has joined the BJP and is contesting the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha polls as a BJP candidate. Ahmednagar is home to three major ‘political dynasties’ – Vikhe-Patil, Thorat and Kale.
Though Vikhe-Patil and Thorat are in the same party, they are rivals and are always trying to ensure the defeat of the other’s candidate in cooperative banks, APMC markets, zilla parishad and municipal councils. There are 30 cooperative and private sugar mills in the district.
Know your candidate
Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil (BJP)
Instead of continuing with their sitting MP, the BJP roped in Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil. Sujay is a neurosurgeon by profession and is in charge of the Padmashri Dr Vithalrao Vikhe-Patil Foundation’s medical college and hospital. With medical service, Dr Sujay has nursed the constituency for the past three years, with a firm eye on the 2019 LS polls. His father tried to convince NCP chief Sharad Pawar to leave the Ahmednagar seat for Congress, but Pawar rejected the proposal.
Dilip Gandhi (BJP)
Two-time member of Parliament (MP) who was denied a ticket this time for a ‘negative’ report card and the anti-incumbency factor. He tried to obtain a ticket for his son.
What people think about their sitting MP
Uddhav Dhage, political analyst
Both, the BJP and the NCP have fielded young candidates. Both are popular among youngsters and have a fan following. Sujay has been working for the last three years and reached out to the maximum number of people though medical camps. People know him as the politician with a social outlook.
But he has never been available to party workers at the grassroots and the common man, which makes one feel he is aloof and arrogant. He may win this election, but it will be his first and last election. On the other hand, Sangram is outgoing and always available to people in his city office.
He spends the whole day in party activities. Unfortunately for him, he has the image of a goon and is directly or indicrectly involved in acts of rivalry against the Sena. He is one of the accused in the murder of two Sainiks and this can prove troublesome for him.
Nitesh Bansode of Sawali, an NGO
Whoever wins the election must ensure justice for orphans and the kin of farmers who have committed suicide. There are several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) functional in the district. They are really doing a good job. But, every NGO has its limitations.
The government ignores these NGOs. We must struggle for land, a proper shed, sufficient food for the children and medical facilities. We have to reply upon donors. If our MP will do something from the Centre, NGOs will be thankful to him. Rating: 6/10
Votes won in 2014
Questions asked in Parliament
(debated on 37)
Private Member’s Bills introduced
of the sanctioned
Rs 24.50 Cr
pending court cases:
Sangram Jagtap (NCP)
Sangram is a sitting member of the legislative assembly (MLA) from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) from the Ahmednagar City assembly constituency. His father Arunkaka Jagtap is an NCP member of the legislative council (MLC), while his father-in-law Shivajirao Kardile is an MLA of the ruling BJP.
As Vikhe-Patil has fielded his son Sujay from BJP, NCP chief Sharad Pawar has fielded Sangram against him. Both candidates are young and have followers of their own.
Jagtap and Kardile are suspected accused in the murder of two Sainiks and hence, the Sena is working to defeat Sangram. The Sena’s political stand in Ahmednagar will decide the fate of candidate.
Shevgaon: Monica Rajele (BJP)
Rahuri: Shivaji Kardile (BJP)
Parner: Vijay Auti (Shiv Sena)
Ahmednagar City: Sangram Jagtap (NCP)
Shrigonda: Rahul Jagtap (NCP)
Karjat-Jamkhed: Ram Shinde (BJP)Kshirsagar (Shiv Sena)
Total voters: 18,31,538