Satara Showdown: Descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vs. Mathadi Workers' Representative in Electoral Battle

Satara Showdown: Descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vs. Mathadi Workers' Representative in Electoral Battle

Bhosale is the descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the representative of the seat of the Maratha warrior's empire, and Shashikant Shinde is the representative of the politically-influential Mathadi workers.

IANSUpdated: Wednesday, May 01, 2024, 03:42 PM IST
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Satara Showdown: Descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vs. Mathadi Workers' Representative in Electoral Battle | Representational image

In Satara constituency of cooperative-rich Western Maharashtra, it's a direct fight between BJP nominee and sitting Rajya Sabha member Udayanraje Bhosale and NCP SP candidate and sitting legislator Shashikant Shinde.

Bhosale is the descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the representative of the seat of the Maratha warrior's empire, and Shinde is the representative of the politically-influential Mathadi workers. In all, 16 candidates are in the fray for the seat but it is an acid test for the Mahayuti and the Maha Vikas Aghadi.

Shinde booked in alleged embezzlement case

Interestingly, the police's move to register a case of embezzlement along with financial fraud against Shinde and 24 others including the former Chairman, Secretary and all Directors of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) for the FSI-allocation scam has become a "hot" political topic in Satara constituency. Bhosale and the Mahayuti in general are targeting Shinde on this issue, saying that the party will continue its fight against corruption.

On the other hand, NCP SP chief Sharad Pawar has threatened to launch a statewide agitation if Shinde is arrested during the ongoing campaigning. Sharad Pawar has claimed that the action against his party nominee is politically-motivated and the voters will give a befitting reply by electing Shinde. Satara was a traditional Congress bastion till 1999 as after a split in the grand old party the NCP grabbed the seat and since then till 2019, retained its supremacy. During the 2019 General Elections, Bhosale, who had won the seat in 2009 and 2014, had emerged victorious. However, thereafter he quit the NCP and joined the BJP.

2019 Bypoll

In the bye-election, NCP nominee and former Sikkim Governor Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil defeated Bhosale and thereby tightened its grip over the constituency. The BJP and Bhosale are therefore approaching the voters with an appeal to give him a chance again in a bid to compensate for his defeat in the 2019 bye-election.

Challenges for Bhosale

Bhosale is cashing in on his 'Robinhood' image apart from his proximity with the voters and family background. However, he faces a tough task of bringing on board the veteran NCP legislator and former Chairperson of the Maharashtra Legislative Council Ramraje Nimbalkar, Shiv Sena minister Shambhuraj Desai and NCP legislator Makarand Patil due to the existing rift. Moreover, the differences between Bhosale and BJP legislator Shivendra Raje Bhosale may prove to be a headache for him though the latter has joined the campaign.

Incidentally, both are cousins and erstwhile royals from Satara. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and another Dy CM Ajit Pawar have separately asked their party leaders to bury the hatchet and work for Bhosale's victory.

Shinde banking on sympathy

On the other hand, Shinde, who is banking on the sympathy and support of the people of Satara for his boss Sharad Pawar, is also reaching out to the voters on a slew of works done by him during his stint as the member of the Legislative Assembly from Koregaon and Jawali and also as the minister for Krishna Valley Development.

After his defeat in the 2019 Assembly elections, Shinde is currently a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council and actively taking up a number of infrastructure and irrigation projects in the district. Shinde downplays the charges against him in the FSI and toilet scam saying that it was all done out of political vendetta and he is prepared for arrest. One of the main issues in the constituency is unemployment due to inadequate development of industries in the area and the consequent migration of job aspirants to Pune.

Issues at centre

This apart, there is the issue of the closure of big companies situated in the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation estate and none being replaced by new industrial units, leading to lack of job opportunities. Plus, inadequate amenities in the drought-prone areas of the constituency have been taken up by political parties as well as civil organisations. Satara's tourism potential remains untapped and the tourism industry has been making a strong case for the government's intervention.

The Satara Lok Sabha constituency comprises Wai (NCP-AP), Koregaon (Shiv Sena), Karad North (NCP-SP), Karad South (Congress), Patan (Shiv Sena) and Satara (BJP). There are 25,63,643 voters comprising 13,04,930 males and 12,58,713 females. Polling for the Lok Sabha elections is slated for May 7. During the 2019 elections, Bhosale as the NCP (united) candidate had polled 579,026 votes (51.91 per cent) defeating the Shiv Sena (united) candidate Narendra Patil who had got 452,498 votes (40.57 per cent). Thereafter, the mid-term election was held after Bhosale parted ways with NCP (united) and joined the BJP. In that election, NCP (united) nominee Patil outpaced Bhosale. Patil polled 636,620 (51.04 per cent) votes against 548,903 (44.01 per cent) votes by Bhosale.

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