Saffron overcome drought and upsets in Marathwada

Representative image. PTI Photo

Despite a couple of big upsets, the BJP-Shiv Sena improved its lead in the drought-affected Marathwada region.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fasnavis's vow to make Maharashtra drought-free in five years and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's regular visit to the region and taking up the issue of crop-insurance appealed the electorate.

The 46 seats of Marathwada region spread in eight districts, a majority of which are drought-affected.

Two senior ministers Pankaja Munde (BJP) and Jaidutta Kshirsagar (Shiv Sena) lost the polls in Beed district in what was described as family contests.

While Pankaja was defeated by her cousin Dhananjay Munde from Parli, in neighbouring Beed seat NCP's Sandeep Kshirsagar defeated his uncle Jaydutta Kshirsagar, who had switched over from the NCP to Sena.

The BJP and the Shiv Sena have got 16 and 12 seats, respectively, one up each from the last time's tally.

The Congress tally has reduced to eight from earlier nine while NCP maintained its 8 seats.

Among prominent winners were former chief minister Ashok Chavan (Bhokar), late Vilasrao Deshmukh's two sons— Amit (Latur City) and Dhiraj (Latur Rural)— and Ranajagjitsinh Patil (Tuljapur).

Patil is son of ex-NCP leader Dr Padmasinh Patil, a relative of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.

The Patil father-son duo had left the NCP to join the BJP.

The region faced severe drought and in fact a few years back Latur had to be provided water by running water wagons.

Latur along with Beed and Osmanabad had been the worst drought-affected.

The divisonal headquarters of Aurangabad, known as 'tourism capital' of the state was the epicentre of the Maratha reservation agitation.

In fact, the Maharashtra government is working on an over Rs 15,000 crore water grid project for Marathwada and it has been appreciated by locals.

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