Palghar LS seat: Four-cornered contest ahead

Palghar LS seat: Four-cornered contest ahead

The Palghar Lok Sabha seat is all set to witness a four-cornered contest. It is a prestige fight for all the political parties in the much-discussed bye-elections, where one of the major issues is the bullet train project between Mumbai-Ahmedabad, the dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

For Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis it is a matter of high stakes to retain the seat for the BJP. However, the odds are too much.

The polls have been necessitated following the death of sitting BJP MP Chintaman Vanaga, who died following a heart attack on January 30 in New Delhi.

The political scene in ST-reserved seat of Palghar – that is on the far western suburbs of Mumbai -has heated up ahead of the May 28 election.

Last week, the late MP’s wife Jayashree and sons – Shrinivas and Praful – met Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and joined the saffron party. Jayashree had alleged that she had tried to meet Fadnavis and state BJP President Raosaheb Patil Danve but in vain. The Chief Minister, for his part, had earlier said: “There was some miscommunication…we have high regard for Chintaman Vanaga.”

The act of the Vanaga family of switching over from BJP to Shiv Sena had stunned the BJP. On Tuesday, after a massive show of strength, Shrinivas filed his nomination papers.

However, immediately after that the BJP roped in Congressman and former Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Rajendra Gavit and has recommended his name to the party high command as a candidate for the Palghar seat.

The Congress is likely to field former MP Damu Shingada.

On the other hand, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) headed by Hitendra Thakur announced it will contest the seat. In fact, from 2009-2014, the seat was with the BVA, which has very big presence in the Vasai taluka and controls the Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation, one of the fastest growing urban centres. Both Hitendra Thakur and his son Kshitij are MLAs.

Meanwhile, reacting to the developments, Fadnavis, said: “Come what may, the BJP will win the bye-polls. It was BJP’s seat and what Shiv Sena did was wrong.”

Bullet train opposed

As the tempo of the campaigning builds up, the proposed Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project – that would pass through the twin districts of Palghar and Thane – would be discussed.

In Dahanu, last week, villagers and activists belonging to the CPI(M) affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) staged a protest against land acquisition for the bullet train project and the Mumbai-Vadodara expressway.

The CPM has not yet announced its move but if it fields a candidate, it would be a five-cornered contest.