In Gadchiroli, BJP has a task to retain 4 tribal seats

The contest to the four tribal reserved seats of Maharashtra, now under the control of the BJP, seems all set to throw up interesting results. PTI file photo

The contest to the four tribal reserved seats of Maharashtra, now under the control of the BJP, seems all set to throw up interesting results.

The four seats have different issues but the common concern is the implementation of The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, popularly referred to as the Forest Rights Act (FRA).

In fact, when in March 2018, the adivasis and farmers undertook a seven-day foot march from Nashik to the corridors of power in Mumbai held under the banner of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), it rang alarm bells for the Devendra Fadnavis government. 

"The issues of farmers, tribals, the agrarian crisis will decide who will come to power," AKIS president Dr Ashok Dhavale told DH

The Gadchiroli-Chimur constituency, a significant part of which is under Maoist influence, will see a direct contest between two-term MLA and sitting MP Ashok Nete and legislator Dr Namdev Usendi.

Similarly, the Nandurbar seat will see a tussle between sitting BJP MP Dr Heena Gavit and Congress veteran KC Padavi.

Maharashtra's nine-term MP Manikrao Gavit and his son Bharat Gavit were denied ticket by the Congress high command, in a major setback to the party which is trying to take back Nandurbar.

The Dindori seat will see a triangular fight between Dr Bharti Pawar of BJP, Dhanraj Mahale of the NCP and Jiva Pandu Gavit, an eight-term MLA of CPM.

Though Harishchandra Chavan, the BJP's sitting MP here, had defeated Dr Pawar last time while she was in NCP, the party decided to go with the latter. Gavit, meanwhile, played a major role in mobilising the Nashik-Mumbai foot march.

The toughest fight will be in Palghar, in the outskirts of Mumbai, which though a tribal seat has a big urban conglomeration of Vasai-Virar. There is a direct contest between Shiv Sena, which has nominated Rajendra Gavit and Hitendra Thakur's Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, which is yet to announce its candidate.

In the last one year, Palghar has witnessed intense political developments. In January 2018, its sitting BJP MP Chintaman Wanaga died of a heart attack. The Sena made Wanaga's son Srinivas Wanaga a candidate, much to the BJP's displeasure.

This led to a war of words between Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The BJP, meanwhile, roped in Congressman and former minister Rajendra Gavit to contest from the seat and he won. 

During the seat-sharing talks this time, the Sena bargained for Palghar. But they could not get a candidate and gave the ticket to Gavit, who left the BJP to join Sena.

On the other hand, the BVA is backed by the Congress-NCP alliance and surprisingly, even the CPM.

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In Gadchiroli, BJP has a task to retain 4 tribal seats

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