BJP may repeat 2014 poll performance in Vidarbha

The vast Vidarbha region in central India once a stronghold of the Congress has become a stronghold of the BJP in the last few decades. However, in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly elections the region will see a dozen of key contests.

In the Lok Sabha elections, there were two setbacks when union minister of state for home Hansraj Aher lost elections to Shiv Sainik-turned-Congressman Suresh Dhanorkar and senior Shiv Sena leader Anand Adsul lost the Amravati seat to former model-actress Navneet Rana, an Independent backed by Congress-NCP.

The region of 62 Assembly seats that is spread over 11 districts divided into two divisions of Amravati and Nagpur.

The two big isssues here are drought and framers' suicides but Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, state finance, planning and Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and Union Road Rransport Minister Nitin Gadkari, who all hail from this region has given a big boost to the infrastructure development.

Nagpur, the biggest city of the region, that houses the RSS headquarters, now has Metro rail. Fadnavis, a five-time MLA, who has been projected as CM again, is contesting against former party collegue Ashish Deshmukh, who has now joined the Congress. Deshmukh is son of former state Congress president Ranjit Deshmukh. Nagpur is the witner capital of the state and is also referred to as orange city.

Congress campaign committee chief Nana Patole, who was the first to revolt against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is contesting from Sakholi. Patole had lost Lok Sabha polls from Nagpur.

In Chandrapur district, Mungantiwar is seeking re-election from Ballarshah that he has been representing for several years.  Leader of opposition Vijay Wadettiwar in contesting from Brahmapuri against Sena's Sandeep Gaddamwar but the AAP has fielded Paromita Goswani, a lawyer and liquor prohibition campaigner.

The Naxalism in Gadchiroli is a menace but last year, in a single operation, 40 Maoists were killed by security agencies. However, Maoists have carried out couple of big retaliations.
The Vidarbha region is a net producer of power and holds two-thirds of mineral resources and three-quarters or forest resources.

The human-animal conflict is a big issue here that come to the fore after tigress Avni was shot dead. The core and big issue is the framers suicide. In the last five years, 12,000 farmers have committed suicide in the state and the majority are from Vidarbha. The Yavatmal district is often referred to as the epicentre of farmland crisis. Ahead of the Assembly polls, long-time BJP supporter and framers' activist Kishor Tiwari met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and joined joined him.

2014 Vidhan Sabha position 

Total seats: 62

BJP -  44
Shiv Sena - 4
Congress - 10
NCP - 1

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