Five cornered contest in Palghar

Five cornered contest in Palghar

The Shiv Sena fielded Shrinivas Vanaga which has rattled the BJP. PTI file photo

The ST-reserved Lok Sabha constituency of Palghar is all set to witness a five-cornered contest involving the BJP, the Congress, the Shiv Sena, the CPM and the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi.

In the 28 May polls in Palghar, located about 87 km from Mumbai, political parties are testing waters ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The polls have been necessitated following the death of BJP MP Chintaman Vanaga (67) on January 30 during the budget session.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray fielded Vanaga’s son Shrinivas which has left the BJP fuming. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who lashed out at the ruling NDA partner saying “come what may, the BJP would win the election.”

The BJP has picked Rajendra Gavit, former Congress leader, for the bypoll. He is a former MLA and a former minister of state for tribal affairs.

The Hitendra Thakur-led BVA fielded Baliram Jadhav, who was an MP from 2009-14. The CPM has nominated Kiran Gahla.

The Congress, on the other hand, has fielded veteran tribal leader Damu Shingda. He had been elected to the Lok Sabha from Dahanu constituency (which is now part of the Palghar Lok Sabha seat after delimitation) in 1980, 1984, 1989, 1991 and 2004. However, Shingda was defeated in the 2009 polls by independent candidate Jadhav.

The BVA has a strong presence in the Vasai taluka and it controls the Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation, one of the fastest growing urban centres. Both its leaders Thakur and his son Kshitij are MLAs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream bullet train project passes through this constituency, which is being opposed by all the other parties.