Nail-biting contest in western Maharashtra

Nail-biting contest in western Maharashtra

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and former NCP MP Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil hold the BJP flag after the latter joined the party, in Mumbai on March 20, 2019. PTI

With switchovers and resentments, new alliances, changing equations and the NextGen coming to the fore, 19 seats of western Maharashtra are headed for a nail-biting finish.

With the equilibrium set to be disturbed, the polls will decide the fate of several political families, including that of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.

His daughter will contest again from the family seat of Baramati while his nephew, Parth Pawar, from Maval.

Pawar Sr, who was himself keen to contest from Madha, bowed to family pressure to launch Parth, the son of former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, into electoral politics.

Similarly, the Mohite-Patils of Solapur-Madha region are also facing a tough time. Since Pawar was not contesting, the NCP wanted sitting MP and former deputy chief minister Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil to contest. However, the latter was keen that his son Ranjitsinh Mohite-Patil should be given a chance.  

Later, the younger Mohite-Patil joined the BJP and was set to get a ticket but Pawar played a masterstroke and nominated Sanjay Shinde, a vocal critic of the Mohite-Patils. The BJP, in turn, decided to field Ranjitsinh Naik-Nimbalkar, who had resigned as Satara Congress chief to join BJP.

In Sangli, late chief minister Vasantdada Patil's grandson Vishal Patil will contest on a ticket from Raju Shetti's Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana (SSS). Shetti is contesting the Hatkanangale seat. In 2014, he was part of the NDA but is now in the Congress-NCP led alliance.

In Pune, state minister Girish Bapat of BJP has been fielded against Congress leader Mohan Joshi.

Solapur seat will see a triangular contest involving Congress loyalist Sushilkumar Shinde, spiritual leader Jaysiddheshwar Swami of BJP and Prakash Ambedkar of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA).

In Shirur, NCP has fielded Dr Amol Kolhe, a Marathi TV actor, who had essayed the role of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Chhatrapati Sambaji Maharaj.