Mumbai: The Raigad Fort in Mahad constituency holds a special place in the hearts of Maharashtra politicians. The samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (CSM) is placed in this fort and leaders believe if they sought blessings of CSM, it brings them victory. The first to start this tradition was Bal Thackeray, the founder of Shiv Sena party, way back in 1990, now it is Nationalist Congress Party’s turn to follow it. NCP kicked off the Nirdhar Parivartan Yatra from Raigad fort on Thursday. Sunil Tatkare, a Gawali, is the NCP candidate from Raigad.
He is seen as a strong Lok Sabha candidate who has a large following and likely to oust and the sitting union minister Anant Gite. NCP sources claimed, the party will wipe out Sena from Konkan in the 2019 LS polls. This Nirdhar rally is expected to tour 24 Lok Sabha constituencies which the NCP is likely to contest. NCP has planned to cover all the probable constituencies from where their candidates will be fielded, before the first week of March, when the election code of conduct is expected to be imposed.
In a recent review meeting, NCP president Sharad Pawar, finalised Tatkare’s candidature. Tatkare has already begun touring his constituency after his term as the Member of Legislative Council (MLC) was over last year in July. Out of the six assembly segments in Raigad LS constituency, Sena has only the Mahad constituency. The three assembly constituencies including Shrivardhan, Dapoli and Guhagar are represented by NCP. However, Pen and Alibaug is controlled by the Peasants and Workers’ Party (PWP). Jayant Patil, chief of PWP confirmed his party’s alliance with NCP-Congress.
“Tatkare is a strong candidate against Geete of Sena. People are not happy with Geete who is not accessible to the public. On the contrary, Tatkare has maintained relations with all sections of the society,” said Patil. Currently, NCP and PWP are ruling the Raigad Zilla Parishad and without the support of NCP, PWP cannot win two assembly seats in the next polls, claimed NCP sources. In the backdrop of the reservation controversy, Marathas have sworn allegiance to Tatkare. “In a meeting held last week in Raigad, Maratha community have sworn to support Tatkare. Muslim Konkanis and the Kunabis community too is with him. This a golden opportunity for him,” claimed an NCP leader.