Maharashtra: BJP Hopes To Retain Latur Lok Sabha Seat, Congress Fights To Reclaim It

Maharashtra: BJP Hopes To Retain Latur Lok Sabha Seat, Congress Fights To Reclaim It

A traditional Congress stronghold, the Latur Lok Sabha constituency in Marathwada had diverted course during three distinct political waves in 1977, 2014 and 2019

IANSUpdated: Monday, April 29, 2024, 03:16 PM IST
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BJP candidate Sudhakar Shrangare and Congress nominee Shivaji Kalge |

A traditional Congress stronghold, the Latur Lok Sabha constituency in Marathwada had diverted course during three distinct political waves in 1977, 2014 and 2019.

The region is also known for giving the first Speaker of the lower house of parliament from Maharashtra -- Shivraj V Patil (1991-1996), and a rare distinction of giving two state Chief Ministers -- the late Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar and the late Vilasrao Deshmukh.

More recently, Shivraj Patil, 89, had shot to fame in 2008 for adopting a principled stand when he was the Union Minister for Home Affairs (from 2004) in the cabinet of ex-Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

In the wake of the deadly Mumbai terror attacks of 26/11, the Latur strongman owned up moral responsibility for the security lapses and resigned as the Home Minister four days later (November 30, 2008).

Nevertheless, Patil's dream run in electoral politics ended in 2004, when the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Rupa Patil-Nilangekar -- the daughter-in-law of the ex-CM -- emerged as a giant killer by defeating the Congressman and seven-term Lok Sabha veteran.

For the ongoing 2024 LS polls, the BJP has repeated its sitting MP Sudhakar Shrangare who will lock horns with Congress' Dr Shivaji Kalge and Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi's Narsingh Udgirkar.

Considering the importance of Latur for its traditional support to the Congress, the party's senior leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addressed her maiden election rally in 10 years here on April 27 for Kalge and received an overwhelming response, for the May 7 elections.

Holding sway over it for 11 LS elections since 1962, the Latur seat crumbled under the anti-Congress sentiments of 1977 and later in the BJP waves of 2014-2019, and this time the grand old party is making an all-out attempt to reclaim it, given the massive grassroots support it still commands here.

What do the numbers say?

The Latur constituency comprises six assembly segments of which one is with BJP, one with NCP and the remaining four are with the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) allies. They are -- Nilanga (BJP MLA Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar -- son of Rupa Patil-Nilangekar); Udgir (NCP MLA Sanjay Bansode); besides the MVA in Loha (PWP MLA Shyamsundar Shinde); Ahmedpur (NCP-SP MLA Babasaheb Patil); Latur City (Congress MLA Amit Vilasrao Deshmukh) and his sibling in Latur Rural (Congress MLA Dhiraj Deshmukh).

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