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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Shinde’s new candidate fights to retain Yavatmal-Washim

The seat, in the Vidarbha region, covers the twin districts of Yavatmal and Washim, and is witnessing a direct contest between Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena’s Rajashri Patil and Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Sanjay Deshmukh.
Last Updated : 21 April 2024, 03:00 IST
Last Updated : 21 April 2024, 03:00 IST

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Yavatmal-Washim: The battle for Yavatmal-Washim became more intense after the BJP told Eknath Shinde to drop five-term MP Bhavana Gawli from the constituency and field Rajshri Patil instead.

Whether the BJP was right in asking Shiv Sena supremo and Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to change the candidate would be known only after the elections.

The seat, in the Vidarbha region, covers the twin districts of Yavatmal and Washim, and is witnessing a direct contest between Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena’s Rajashri Patil and Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Sanjay Deshmukh.

However, a crucial factor here is Bhavana Gawali, a five-time MP of undivided Shiv Sena, who won the Washim seat in 1999 and 2004 and after delimitation of the Yavatmal-Washim seat in 2009, 2014 and 2019.
At the insistence of the BJP as their internal report reflected anti-incumbency, three sitting Shiv Sena MPs of the Shinde-cam had to be dropped in the Vidarbha and Marathwada regions - Krupal Tumane from Ramtek (SC), Bhawana Gawali (Yavatmal-Washim) and Hemant Patil (Hingoli).

In place of Tumane, Umred MLA Raju Parve, who resigned from Congress to join Shiv Sena, was fielded to take on Rashmi Barve of the Congress, however, the latter’s caste certificate was rejected and in her place, her husband Shyam Barve was asked to contest.

In Yavatmal-Washim, Gawali, the senior-most woman MP of Shiv Sena was dropped. In her place, Rajashri Patil was given a ticket. She had to be accommodated as her husband and sitting Hingoli MP Hemant Patil, whose name was already announced was pulled back and replaced with Baburao Kadam Kohlikar, to take on Nagesh Patil-Ashtikar of Shiv Sena (UBT).

“The dropping and swapping of candidates has not gone down well within the Shiv Sena rank,” said a senior leader of the Mayayuti.

Gawali said she was shocked at being denied a ticket, however, she was not angry. “I am committed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mission of abki baar-400 par…I am not among those who will sulk and sit,” she said, adding that she would be working for the party and the ruling alliance.

Of the six Assembly segments in Yavatmal-Washim, the BJP holds four - Washim-SC (Lakhan Malik), Karanja (Rajendra Patni), Ralegaon-ST (Ashok Uike), Yavatmal (Madan Yeravar), one by Shiv Sena, Digras (Sanjay Rathod) and another by Ajit Pawar-led NCP, Pusad (Indranil Naik).

The rural agrarian belt’s DMK votes (Deshmukh-Maratha-Kunbi) and Banjara votes in the region helped the undivided Shiv Sena-BJP saffron alliance win the seat, however, in the changing dynamics, one has to see how things will unfold.

Mahant Sunil Maharaj, a prominent spiritual leader of the Banjara community, has backed Thackeray. He has a tremendous following among Poharadevi temple devotees in Washim district - as it is the biggest pilgrimage centre of the Banjara community - and it houses the temple of Jagadambadevi and shrine of Sant Sevalal Maharaj.

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Published 21 April 2024, 03:00 IST

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