Ahmednagar Lok Sabha Seat: 'Covid Warrior' Nilesh Lanke Challenges Incumbent BJP MP Sujay Vikhe

Ahmednagar Lok Sabha Seat: 'Covid Warrior' Nilesh Lanke Challenges Incumbent BJP MP Sujay Vikhe

A total of 19,81,866 voters, consisting of 10,32,946 males and 9,48,801 females, will cast their votes on polling day, May 13, with 25 candidates contesting in the election

IANSUpdated: Thursday, May 09, 2024, 08:09 PM IST
article-image
Ahmednagar Lok Sabha Seat: 'Covid Warrior' Nilesh Lanke Challenges Incumbent BJP MP Sujay Vikhe | File Photos

BJP nominee Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil and NCP(SP) candidate Nilesh Lanke are locked in a direct contest in the cooperative-rich Ahmednagar Lok Sabha constituency.

The fight between the two is being portrayed as a contest between a member of the Vikhe-Patil family, considered the pioneers of the cooperative movement in Maharashtra and a new face who emerged as a 'Covid Warrior' by helping a large number of people during the pandemic.

For Vikhe-Patil it is also a fight to retain the supremacy of his family and the BJP in Ahmednagar district while for Lanke it is an opportunity to emerge as the people's man who can take on mighty and resourceful leaders.

Political observers say the fight is also between the traditional rivals Sharad Pawar and Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil. While Lanke comes from a family of farmers, Sujay Vikhe-Patil is the great-grandson of Vitthalrao Vikhe-Patil who is credited with the establishment of Asia's first cooperative sugar factory in Ahmednagar after independence.

A total of 19,81,866 voters comprising 10,32,946 males and 9,48,801 females will cast their votes on polling day on May 13. There are 25 candidates in the fray.

Of the six Assembly segments, the BJP holds Shevgaon and Shrigonda while Rahuri and Karjat-Jamkhed are held by NCP(SP). The Parner constituency is vacant after Nilesh Lanke's resignation. Despite discontent against Vikhe-Patil, who was elected for the first time in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections after he joined the BJP by parting ways with the Congress, the saffron party renominated him from the constituency. BJP legislator Ram Shinde had staked his claim to the seat and expressed serious displeasure over Vikhe-Patil's style of functioning. However, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis intervened and brought Shinde on board while asking him to keep aside differences for Vikhe-Patil's victory.

Lanke, who was elected from the Parner Assembly seat in the 2019 elections on an NCP (united) ticket, had migrated to the Ajit Pawar-led NCP after the party split in June 2023. However, he quit the Ajit Pawar faction and joined the Sharad Pawar-led NCP(SP) expressing his desire to contest the Lok Sabha election from Ahmednagar. Lanke pleaded that he would be in a position to cash in on the discontent against the BJP and Vikhe-Patil, especially on core issues such as farmers' distress, lack of adequate price for milk, Centre's switch-on and switch-off policies on sugar and ethanol exports and above all neglect of water schemes. The senior Pawar not only inducted Lanke back into the party but also announced his nomination.

With Lanke's entry, the fight which otherwise was being considered as one-sided for Vikhe-Patil, has become tough. Vikhe-Patil is riding on 'Modi's guarantee' and is banking on the BJP's poll machinery and the cooperative and educational institutions formed by his great grandfather, grandfather and former Union minister Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil and on his father and state minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil's hold over the district's politics.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a rally for Vikhe-Patil promising to take Ahmednagar district's development to new heights. On the other hand, Lanke has projected the election as a fight between money power and people's power. He is carrying out his campaign cashing in on his mass contact. Lanke downplayed Vikhe-Patil's barb over not being fluent in English saying that he speaks the language of the people and will continue to do so while taking up their burning issues in the Lok Sabha. Lanke is also banking on the support of veteran cooperative leader and former Congress minister Balasaheb Thorat, NCP(SP) legislators Rohit Pawar and Prajakt Tanpure and a couple of non-government organisations working in various fields. Sharad Pawar has made the seat a prestige issue and has addressed a couple of rallies here to ensure his Lanke's victory.

RECENT STORIES

My Loyalty is With Ajit Dada Only: NCP Pune Chief Deepak Mankar

My Loyalty is With Ajit Dada Only: NCP Pune Chief Deepak Mankar

Satara News: Leopards Kill Pet Dog and Bull, Attacks Cause Fear in Karad and Patan Talukas; Life of...

Satara News: Leopards Kill Pet Dog and Bull, Attacks Cause Fear in Karad and Patan Talukas; Life of...

Pune Police Arrest Beleaguered IAS Officer Puja Khedkar's Gun-Toting Mother Manorama

Pune Police Arrest Beleaguered IAS Officer Puja Khedkar's Gun-Toting Mother Manorama

Pune Drink-And-Drive VIDEO: NCP-SP Leader Bandu Gaikwads' Son Rams SUV Into Chicken Truck In...

Pune Drink-And-Drive VIDEO: NCP-SP Leader Bandu Gaikwads' Son Rams SUV Into Chicken Truck In...

Pune: Over 2 Lakh Application Forms Submitted Under Mukhyamantri Majhi Ladki Bahin Yojana

Pune: Over 2 Lakh Application Forms Submitted Under Mukhyamantri Majhi Ladki Bahin Yojana