Dharashiv Lok Sabha Seat: Estranged Family Members Fight In High-Stakes Battle

Dharashiv Lok Sabha Seat: Estranged Family Members Fight In High-Stakes Battle

The polling in the Dharashiv constituency is slated for May 7

IANSUpdated: Thursday, May 02, 2024, 05:03 PM IST
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Shiv Sena (UBT) candidate Omraje Nimbalkar and NCP nominee Archana Patil |

The Dharashiv constituency, situated in the water scarcity-hit Marathwada region of Maharashtra, is witnessing a fight between estranged family members.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) has re-nominated the sitting MP Omraje Nimbalkar who is pitted against his estranged cousin and BJP legislator Rana Jagjit Singh Patil's wife and NCP nominee Archana Patil.

What has added colour to the ongoing campaign is NCP's move to 'import' the candidate from BJP which has come in handy for Shiv Sena (UBT) and Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in general to flag it off aggressively.

Despite a direct fight between Omraje Nimbalkar and Archana Patil, the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) nominee Bhasuhaben Andhalkar is carrying out a campaign to lure disgruntled elements from both MVA and Mahayuti.

NCP inducted Archana Patil into the party fold at a time when Omraje Nimbalkar had already completed several rounds in the constituency through his outreach to the voters. Patil's induction led to discontent in the NCP but party chief Ajit Pawar intervened to quell the possible rebellion directing all local leaders to work wholeheartedly for the victory of the party's nominee.

Incidentally, NCP legislators Satish Chavan and Vikram Kale and the district unit chief Suresh Birajdar were asked to be ready for a fight but after Patil's nomination, they now have to take care of her campaigning.

The family feud over the death of Omraje Nimbalkar's father continues to figure during the campaigning. Omraje makes it repeatedly clear that he would like to go with his father's legacy and also on the work that he did to transform the constituency during his five-year term. On the other hand, Patil along with BJP and Shiv Sena are targeting Omraje Nimbalkar over the present state of water shortage, lack of substantial progress in the development of Tuljapur railway corridor and rising unemployment.

Omraje Nimbalkar has succeeded in projecting himself as a "people's representative" who is available 24x7 and one who is committed to fulfil promises. More importantly, his move to remain loyal to Uddhav Thackeray after the split in Shiv Sena in June 2022 is coming to his aid as the traditional Shiv Sainiks are working hard for his victory. The Congress and NCP (SP) cadres, who have perfect tuning with Omraje Nimbalkar, are focussing on reaching up to booth level and bringing voters to polling stations on the voting day.

On the other hand, even though NCP after the split in the party in July 2023 lacks a strong and vibrant party network in the constituency, the well-oiled poll machinery created by Archana Patil's husband and BJP legislator Rana Jagjit Singh Patil has been positive for NCP nominee. This is not all, Patil is banking on strong support from two legislators each from BJP and the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and one Independent. The campaign has now picked up especially after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally held on Tuesday. BJP insiders claim that the rally will help to add at least one lakh votes in favour of Archana Patil. PM Modi in a bid to lure the farmers from Dharashiv blamed NCP (SP) Sharad Pawar and also Omraje Nimbalkar for the water shortage and lack of completion of a slew of irrigation projects. He also cornered the MVA government for putting a break on the water grid project and Jalyukt Shivar Yojana (water conservation scheme) that was initiated by the BJP-led government during its tenure between 2014 and 2019.

However, Shiv Sena (UBT) has also organised a campaign rally by party chief Uddhav Thackeray as it hopes to cash in on the undercurrent against the BJP. The NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar and Congress leaders have held meetings to mobilise their cadres for Omraje Nimbalkar's support. Thackeray and Pawar have been at the forefront to counter charges made by PM Modi and Mahayuti by projecting the failures of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre and the Mahayuti government in the state to address core issues such as unemployment, farmers' distress and inflation.

What do the numbers say?

The Dharashiv constituency comprises six assembly segments covering Latur, Dharashiv and Solapur districts. Ausa and Tuljapur assembly segments are represented by BJP, Umarga and Paranda by Shiv Sena, Dharashiv by Shiv Sena (UBT) and Barshi by an independent. In all, there are 20,04,282 voters comprising 10,58,156 males and 9,46,048 females in the constituency. During the 2019 elections, Omraje Nimbalkar secured 5,96,640 votes defeating the NCP (undivided) candidate Rana Jagjit Singh Patil who garnered 4,69,074 votes. In the 2014 elections, Shiv Sena (undivided) nominee Ravindra Gaikwad emerged victorious by getting 6,07,699 votes and defeated NCP (undivided) nominee Dr Padmasinh Patil who received 3,73,374 votes. Incidentally, Dr Padmasinh Patil, who is Archana Patil's father-in-law, had won the 2009 elections from Dharashiv, which was earlier known as Osmanabad.

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