Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Multiple factors in play in Maharashtra's Parbhani

Khan or baan, insider vs outsider debate in this Marathwada battleground.
Last Updated : 26 April 2024, 12:41 IST
Last Updated : 26 April 2024, 12:41 IST

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Parbhani: Will there be a shift in voting pattern in Parbhani, considered the land of saints in Marathwada region of Maharashtra?

Multiple factors are going to be in play in Parbhani, where the main fight is between two-time sitting MP Sanjay Jadhav, popularly known as Bandu Jadhav or Bandu Boss and Dhangar community leader Mahadev Jankar, the founder of Rashtriya Samaj Paksha.

While Jadhav is from the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and is candidate of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (I.N.D.I.A.), Jankar has been fielded by BJP from the quota of Ajit Pawar-led NCP and support of Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena as Maha Yuti (NDA) prepares for a big fight.

“Khan havaa ka baan havaa?” - was a question that was often asked during the polls - a reference to Muslims and the bow-and-arrow symbol of Shiv Sena, which stands for the cause of Marathi-manoos and Hindutva.

“As Parbhani voted on communal lines over decades it emerged as the bastion of Balasaheb Thackeray-founded Shiv Sena. However, the Shiv Sena is split into two parties and this time Jankar has been fielded against the sitting MP. Jankar hails from the Dhangar community, which comprises around 9 per cent of state’s population. However, Jankar does not hail from Parbhani,” says political analyst MK Joshi, who has worked in the Marathwada region.

This has led to the “insider vs outsider” debate and questions are being raised Jankar’s flip-flop as he was negotiating with NCP (SP) supremo Sharad Pawar for two seats of Parbhani and Madha, however, the BJP offered the Parbhani seat to him from Ajit Pawar’s quota.

Dhangars, a community of shepherds with significant presence in over half a dozen Lok Sabha constituencies including Baramati, Parbhani, Osmanabad, Ahmednagar, Amravati, Solapur and Shirur. The ticket in Madha from NCP (SP) would have meant support of the community in Baramati for Supriya Sule.

Another issue here is the BJP’s tested MADHAV formula involving Mali-Dhangar-Vanjari. Jankar is very close to the Munde-family; he and BJP’s Pankaja Munder share a brother-sister-like bonding.

During the campaigning, Jankar said: “We have the ‘Khan’…we have the ‘baan’. I have the support of BJP…Shinde Saheb and Ajit Dada…Pankaja Tai is with me…the people are with us.”

On the insider vs outsider debate, Jankar reacts: "I am not from Pakistan...I am from India, I am from Maharashtra...people from other states have come and won elections from our state."

On the other hand, Jadhav explains: “Some traitors have stolen the party and the symbol…you all have been supporting the baan…now support the mashaal...we have to teach them a lesson”.

The Dhangar community - the traditional nomadic shepherds - who get reservation in education and jobs under Nomadic Tribes (C) category, which is 3.5 per cent, are demanding that they be placed under Scheduled Tribes, which get 7 per cent reservation.

The Dhangar leaders claim ‘Dhangar’ and ‘Dhangad’ are same and a "topographical error" has deprived them in Maharashtra to get benefits under ST category like some other states.

The Adivasi leaders, however, are up in arms against inclusion of Dhangar as ST because it would dilute their quota.

The ball is completely in Centre's court even though both the coalitions - MY and MVA have made assurances.

In the run up to the general elections, the Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis-Ajit Pawar government announced the that the Ahmednagar district would be renamed as AhilyaNagar after the legendary Holkar queen Ahilyabai Holkar, one of the most influential figures in Indian history, who came from the Dhangar community.

The agrarian crisis and water crisis is a major issue in Marathwada, however, Parbhani-based farmer Hitendra Upadyaya said: “Despite the crisis, the government has always extended help be it unseasonal rains or hailstorms or floods.”

"Parbhani district is located next to Jalna district, which was the epicentre of the Maratha reservation campaign. This would be a factor here," said Raghunath Mahale, a local resident, who travels to Nanded regularly.

Assembly segments:

Jintur: Meghna Bordikar (BJP)

Parbhani: Rahul Patil (Shiv Sena (UBT)

Gangakhed: Ratnakar Gutte (RSP)

Pathri: Suresh Warpurkar (Congress)

Partur: Bababrao Lonikar (BJP)

Ghansawangi: Rajesh Tope (NCP(SP)

Lok Sabha results:

  • 2019: Sanjay Jadhav (Shiv Sena and now with Shiv Sena (UBT)) defeated Rajesh Vitekar (undivided NCP) by 42,199 votes

  • 2014: Sanjay Jadhav (Shiv Sena) defeated Vijay Bhamble (NCP) by 1,27,155 votes

Total Voter: 21,23,056

Males: 11,03,891

Females: 10,19,132

Third Gender: 14

Published 26 April 2024, 12:41 IST

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