Maharashtra By-polls: In Palghar Constituency, CPI(M) is the Dark Horse
May 23, 2018
Demanding implementation of Forest Rights Act, thousands from Palghar Constituency joined Kisan Long March.
With less than a week left for the May 28 by-polls in Maharashtra’s two Lok Sabha constituencies – Palghar and Bhandara-Gondia, the opposition parties are set to present a tough battle for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). While in Palghar, it is going to be a multi-cornered contest, with the BJP and Shiv Sena candidates contesting along with candidates from Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA), Congress and CPI(M), in Bhandara-Gondia, the fight is mainly between the NCP-Congress alliance and the BJP.
Bypolls for the two Lok Sabha seats, previously held by the BJP have been scheduled, as BJP MP Chintaman Vanga from Palghar died on January 30. On the other hand, Nana Patole, sitting Bhandara-Gondia MP submitted his resignation in December 2017, who quit the BJP and joined Congress then. Both these two constituencies were formed only in 2008, as a part of the implementation of the Presidential notification based on the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission of India.
Shiv Sena has fielded Srinivas Wanga, the son of late BJP MP Chintaman Wanga, whereas the BJP has nominated a former Congress minister Rajendra Gavit as its candidate. Besides, Baliram Jadhav from the BVA, Damodar Shingada of the Congress and Kiran Gahala from the CPI(M) are in the fray. The constituency has predominant tribal population with four out of its six assembly segments reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The BVA has MLAs in Vasai, Nallasopara and Boisar (ST) assembly segments, while the BJP has MLAs in two ST reserved assembly segments – Dahanu and Vikramgad. The Shiv Sena has one MLA from the Palghar assembly segment.
Despite the alliance of BJP and Shiv Sena in the state, the two saffron parties are indulged in accusing each other, which is most likely to have an adverse impact on the performance of both the parties. On the other side, while the BVA has relied its campaign on its three sitting MLAs over there, for CPI(M), the recent struggles led by the Left party – in Palghar district in particular – is its strength. In the recently held Kisan Long March organised by CPI(M)’s All India Kisan Sabha in the state, thousands of Tribal farmers from the constituency had participated who were mainly demanding the implementation of Forest Rights Act. CPI(M) candidates stood at third and fourth positions respectively in 2014 and 2009 elections. CPI(M), which has been organising numerous struggles for the cause of the tribal farmers there, might emerge as a dark horse, amid the tussle between the saffron parties. For Congress, its alliance with NCP is its strength.
In 2014 elections, BJP’s Chintaman Wanga got elected, who secured 53.72 percent of the votes casted. Whereas in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, BVA candidate Baliram Jadhav was elected as Palghar MP, who secured 30.4 percent of the votes casted.
Although 18 candidates are in the fray for the Bhandara-Gondia Constituency, as BSP and Shiv Sena did not field any candidates, the main contest is believed to be between NCP-Congress alliance and the BJP. In the last two elections held in the constituency, the main battle has been among three parties – NCP, BJP and BSP. Madhukar Kukde of the NCP has been pitted against the BJP’s Hemant Patle. While BJP has already witnessed a setback with Nana Patole’s resignation from both the party and the MP seat, its ally Sena did not even announce support for the BJP in this constituency. On the other side, the BSP, which has a strong base in the constituency would choose NCP candidate.
Of the six assembly segments of this constituency, the BJP has MLAs in five segments – Arjuni-Morgoan, Tirora, Sakoli, Bhandara and Tumsar. Congress has one sole MLA in Gondiya assembly segment.
In the previous 2014 elections, Nana Patole who contested from the BJP’s ticket got elected as MP defeating NCP’s Praful Patel. In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, NCP candidate Praful Patel won against Nana Patole, who then contested as an Independent candidate.