Raver Lok Sabha Constituency: Two-Term MP Raksha Khadse Grapples With Anti-Incumbency Factor

Raver Lok Sabha Constituency: Two-Term MP Raksha Khadse Grapples With Anti-Incumbency Factor

Slated for polling on May 13, the constituency has 18,21,750 voters, comprising 9,41,732 males and 8,79,964 females, with 24 candidates in the fray

IANSUpdated: Saturday, May 11, 2024, 03:10 PM IST
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Raver Lok Sabha Constituency: Two-Term MP Raksha Khadse Grapples With Anti-Incumbency Factor |

Political equations in the Raver Lok Sabha constituency from Jalgaon district in north Maharashtra have changed drastically after veteran leader Eknath Khadse decided to rejoin the BJP.

Khadse left the BJP in October 2020 while blaming the local leadership of injustice and neglect. Although he is yet to be formally re-inducted into the saffron party, he has a clout in the constituency due to his political journey of over 40 years. Now, with Khadse at her side, the BJP nominee Raksha Khadse hopes to score a hat-trick from Raver constituency which has been represented by the party after it was created in February 2009 during the delimitation process.

Raksha Khadse is pitted against NCP (SP) candidate Shriram Patil who is a leading industrialist and comes from the Maratha community. Significantly, Eknath Khadse is Raksha Khadse's father-in-law. The NCP(SP) had explored the option of fielding Khadse senior against his daughter-in-law but Khadse's move to rejoin the BJP changed the equation. With NCP(SP)'s move to nominate a new face, Raksha Khadse faces the twin challenge of battling the anti-incumbency factor and winning the seat with a higher margin.

During the 2019 elections, Raksha Khadse polled 6,55,386 votes against Congress nominee Ulhas Patil who got 3,19,504 votes. In the 2014 elections, Raksha Khadse defeated NCP nominee Manish Jain when she polled 6,05,452 votes against 2,87,384 votes by Jain.

NCP(SP) hopes to cash in on the anti-incumbency factor against Raksha Khadse and also against the BJP. There are 4 lakh Marathas, 3.30 lakh Muslims and 2.59 lakh Leva-Patils in the constituency. Incidentally, Leva-Patils play a crucial role in the elections and therefore both Raksha Khadse and Shriram Patil have stepped up their efforts to woo them.

Of the 18,21,750 voters, 9,41,732 are males and 8,79,964 are females. The constituency is slated to go to polls on May 13 and there are 24 candidates in the fray.

Raver is also known as the major banana growing area and it hogged the headlines in the past after the Congress party held its national convention in Faizpur in Raver. Eknath Khadse's rivalry with BJP Minister Girish Mahajan and independent legislator Chandrakant Patil is well-known. Chandrakant Patil defeated Khadse's daughter Rohini Khadse in the 2019 Assembly election from the Muktainagar seat. Girish Mahajan has dared Eknath Khadse to first resign from the NCP(SP) and be part of the poll campaign after his formal 'ghar wapsi'. However, the BJP's state and central leadership has asked party leaders including Mahajan and others from Jalgaon district not to target Eknath Khadse as the party is keen to retain the seat.

With the intervention of DCM Devendra Fadnavis, the BJP's poll machinery has been activated for Raksha Khadse's victory. Raksha Khadse is riding on Modi's guarantee as well as her performance in the two terms for the transformation of the constituency. However, low procurement price for bananas, lapses in the banana crop insurance scheme and neglect of banana processing units are big negatives for Raksha Khadse.

On his part, NCP(SP) candidate Shriram Patil is banking on strong support from party chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray and also on the network of both the parties and the Congress party's poll machinery. Shriram Patil is approaching the voters with an appeal for a change while exposing inaction on the part of incumbent MP Raksha Khadse over lack of substantial efforts to boost banana exports and development of mega recharge plant. Apart from this, Shriram Patil is promising to actively pursue with the Centre the issue of construction of a four-lane Berhampur-Ankaleshwar National Highway, bringing in more industries to create more jobs and more railway stops in the constituency.

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