Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Congress spins magic in reserved seats in Maharashtra

The BJP, which in 2019 had won five reserved seats in Maharashtra, managed to win just one in this year's Lok Sabha elections.
Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 04:32 IST
Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 04:32 IST

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Mumbai: Regaining lost ground, the Congress bagged six out of the nine reserved seats in Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha elections this time, bouncing back strongly after failing to win a single one of these seats in 2014 and 2019.

The Congress’ Maha Vikas Aghadi (I.N.D.I.A) allies—the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP)— also won one seat each this time around.

The BJP, which in 2019 had won five reserved seats, managed to win just one this time, in what came as a blow to the Maha Yuti (NDA).

Five seats in Maharashtra are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) are Amravati, Ramtek, Latur, Solapur and Shirdi, while four are reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST)—Nandurbar, Palghar, Dindori and Gadchiroli-Chimur.

The Congress’ narrative that the Constitution would be changed if the BJP-led NDA came to power at the Centre with 400-plus seats seems to have worked in these places, in addition to issues concerning the SC/ST community and farmers.

This time, the Congress winners from SC seats are Praniti Shinde (Solapur), Balwant Wankhede (Amravati), Shyam Barve (Ramtek), Dr Shivaji Kalge (Latur).

Congressmen Dr Kirsan Namdeo and Govaal Padavi also won two seats reserved for STs, namely, Gadchiroli-Chimur and Nandurbar respectively. Padavi, a lawyer and son of Congress MLA K C Padavi defeated two-time sitting BJP MP Dr Heena Gavit, the daughter of Nandurbar MLA and state’s Tribal Affairs Minister Vijaykumar Gavit.

Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Bhausaheb Wakchaure won the prestigious reserved seat of Shirdi (SC) in the Ahmednagar district, while NCP (SP)’s Bhaskar Bhagare won the reserved seat of Dindori (ST) in the onion belt of Nashik.

The BJP won the ST seat of Palghar, with Dr Hemant Savara emerging victorious in a triangular contest involving Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Bharti Kamdi and Rajesh Patil of Hitendra Thakur-led Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA).

Winning back the Nandurbar (ST) seat was a major challenge for the Congress as it relates with the grand old party and the Gandhi-family.

In March, Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi passed through Nandurbar and addressed back-to-back meetings as part of the last phase of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra while Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi addressed an election meeting just a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally there.

Former Prime Ministers—Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi as well as the latter's wife and former Congress President Sonia Gandhi—used to launch the Congress campaign in Maharashtra from the Nandurbar seat.

Way back in 1998, Sonia Gandhi stamped her arrival in the political arena by addressing a mammoth rally in Nandurbar, where she declared that she would not assume any post of power.

When the Congress-led UPA government was in power, then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, then UPA Chairperson, chose Tembhli village in Nandurbar for the Unique Identification Authority of India’s launch of the Aadhaar Card programme on September 29, 2010, when the first person was given an Aadhaar identity number.

Amravati (SC) was another tough contest where sitting Independent MP Navneet Kaur Rana, who joined the BJP ahead of elections, was defeated by Balwant Wankhede. Navneet Rana, an actor-turned-politician, is the wife of three-time Badnera MLA Ravi Rana. Prahaar's Dinesh Bub and Republican Sena's Anandraj Ambedkar too were in fray.

Praniti Shinde, a three-time MLA who won the Solapur (SC) seat, is the daughter of former Union Home Minister and ex-Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

Congress also managed to win the Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST) seat, where Dr Namdeo Kirsan defeated two-time sitting BJP MP Ashok Nete. Dr Kirsan is a former Maharashtra government official, who has now joined politics and is considered close to Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar.

The Ramtek (SC) seat saw an interesting contest. The Congress fielded Rashmi Barve, whose nomination was rejected because of issues in her caste certificate which forced her husband Shyam Barve to contest. He defeated Shiv Sena’s Raju Parve, who had resigned from the Congress and as Umred MLA. The Barve-couple are considered close to Congress leader and five-time Saoner MLA Sunil Kedar.

The NCP(SP)’s win in Dindori (ST) seat—where Dr Bharti Pawar, the sitting BJP MP and Union Minister of State for Health was defeated by Bhaskar Bagare—was a major boost for the Sharad Pawar-led party.

Published 06 June 2024, 04:32 IST

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