Ahmednagar to decide fate of political bigwigs

The centre of attraction of this district is the Karjat Jamkhed seat where Pawar's grand nephew, Rohit Pawar, is taking on minister and sitting MLA Prof Ram Shinde. Photo/Twitter (Rohit Pawar)

More than half a dozen high-profile politicians, including Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil of the BJP,  state Congress President Balasaheb Thorat,  NCP supremo Sharad Pawar's grandnephew Rohit Pawar are in the race for Vidhan Sabha seats from various constituencies of Ahmednagar district.

This largest district of Maharashtra, Ahmednagar is divided into two Lok Sabha seats of Ahmednagar and Shirdi-SC and 12 Assembly segments.

In fact, the chain of defections from the Opposition Congress-NCP camp to the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena started from Ahmednagar district a few months ago when Vikhe Patil's son Dr Sujay joined the BJP after NCP president Sharad Pawar turned down the request of the Congress to exchange the seat.

The Vikhe Patils of Ahmednagar and Pawars of Pune are political rivals.

After this, Vikhe Patil resigned as leader of the Opposition and then from the Congress to join the BJP to become a minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government.

Vikhe Patil is seeking reelection from the temple town of Shirdi, that he has been representing since 1995. In neighbouring Kopargaon, Vikhe Patil's brother-in-law Rajesh Parjane, as an Independent, is taking on BJP's sitting legislator Snehalata Kohle-Patil.

Vikhe Patil's political rival Balasaheb Thorat, sitting MLA and MPCC president, is seeking relection from Sangamner.

From Akole, Vaibhav Pichad, who quit the NCP, is seeking relection with a BJP ticket. Pichad's father Madhukar Pichad was once a close aide of Pawar.

The centre of attraction of this district is the Karjat Jamkhed seat where Pawar's grand nephew, Rohit Pawar, is taking on minister and sitting MLA Prof Ram Shinde. 

"This is one of the important and keenly watched contests. For the Pawar family, a lot is at stake. First, they fielded Rohit from Ahmednagar and not from Pune. Second, the family got a shock in Lok Sabha polls when Pawar's grandnephew and Ajit Pawar's son Parth lost the polls from Maval," said political analyst Ajit Joshi.

Rohit is the president of Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA). He is also a member of Pune Zilla Parishad.

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