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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Two sitting MLAs sweat it out in Maharashtra's Solapur

Solapur has a mixed population of Marathi and Kannada-speaking people and also has a significant Lingayat population. There is a sizable Telugu-speaking population as well.
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 04:38 IST
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 04:38 IST

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Solapur: Amid sweltering heat and water crisis, two sitting MLAs are sweating it out in Solapur where three-time MLA Pranati Shinde will attempt to avenge the back-to-back defeats of her father and veteran Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde in his home-turf in the hands of the BJP.

The Solapur (SC) Lok Sabha seat in Western Maharashtra is witnessing a direct contest.

Located along the Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary, the severely drought-prone Solapur district is known for beedis, chaddars, cotton mills, power looms, spinning mills, towels, and school uniforms.

The combination of Dalit-Muslim-Dhangar is what will swing the balance.

Solapur has a mixed population of Marathi and Kannada-speaking people and also has a significant Lingayat population. There is a sizable Telugu-speaking population as well.

The Solapur district is considered the spiritual capital of Maharashtra - as the Shri Vitthal-Rukmini Mandir is located in Pandharpur, which is referred to as Dakshin Kashi. The temple is dedicated to God Vithoba - a form/incarnation of Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna and his consort Goddess Rakhumai. The idol is called by different names Vithoba, Pandurang, Pandhari, Vithal, Vithalnath.

Besides, there are hundreds of temples in Pandharpur.

Akkalkot houses the temple of Shri Swami Samarth, a 19th-century saint who is believed by his devotees to be an incarnation of Lord Dattatreya.

While the Congress has fielded Praniti, a three-time MLA from Solapur City Central seat, the BJP has fielded Ram Satpute (36), a first-time MLA from Malshiras (SC), an Assembly segment of Madha Lok Sabha seat.

Praniti is daughter of veteran Congressman Sushilkumar Shinde, who is a former Maharashtra chief minister, ex-union minister having handled portfolios like home and energy and former Andhra Pradesh governor.

In 2014 and 2019, Shinde was defeated by Sharad Bansode and Lingayat seer Jai Siddheshwar Shivacharya Swami, respectively, which came as a blow to the Congress.

The Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi had put up Rahul Gaikwad, who later withdrew and joined the Congress in presence of Rahul Gandhi. However, VBA has now backed Aatish Mohan Bansode. The Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM has not put up any candidate in Solapur.

The Congress has launched an aggressive campaign making it an "outsider versus local" contest, targeting Satpute, who is a native of Beed.

On the other hand, BJP and Satpute, who is considered close to Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, have launched a counter-offensive saying that a daughter of the former Chief Minister is against a son of a sugarcane labourer.

The Solapur (SC) Lok Sabha seat comprises of Vidhan Sabha segments of Mohol-SC (Yashwant Mane - NCP), Solapur City North (Vijay Deshmukh - BJP), Solapur City Central (Praniti Shinde - Congress), Akkalkot (Sachin Kalyanshetti - BJP), Solapur South (Subhash Deshmukh - BJP) and Pandharpur (Samadhan Autade - BJP).

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Published 01 May 2024, 04:38 IST

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