BJP And NCP Lock Horns In Maharashtra's Bhandara-Gondiya

Bhandara-Gondiya, like Palghar, has become a prestige issue for the BJP since its sitting MP Nana Patole had quit the party in December 2017.

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BJP And NCP Lock Horns In Maharashtra's Bhandara-Gondiya

The Bhandara-Gondiya bypoll has become a prestige issue for the BJP


Nagpur:  The BJP has locked horns with the NCP for retaining Maharashtra's Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha seat for which by-elections are scheduled on May 28, unlike in Palghar where the state's ruling party and its ally Shiv Sena are locked in a direct contest.

However, Bhandara-Gondiya, like Palghar, has become a prestige issue for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since its sitting MP Nana Patole had quit the party in December 2017 and later joined the Congress.

This time, BJP's Hemant Patle is pitted against Nationalist Congress Party's (NCP's) Madhukar Kukde, a former legislator, who is supported by the Congress, making it the main contest in the constituency with 18 others in the fray.

Incidentally, Mr Patle was the district chief of BJP ally Shiv Sena, who quit his party and was rewarded with the Lok Sabha bypoll ticket (by the BJP). He has been supported by another NDA ally Republican Party of India-A.

Bhandara-Gondiya, in the Vidarbha region of eastern Maharashtra, has been a traditional stronghold of senior NCP leader Praful Patel.

While Mr Patel defeated Nana Patole in 2009, the situation was reversed in 2014 when Mr Patole vanquished him as a BJP candidate during the "Modi wave".

Nana Patole, a senior OBC leader, became the first BJP MP to criticize Prime Minister Narendra Modi openly before quitting the party and subsequently joined Congress, dealing a severe blow to the party.

The BJP in January suffered another big loss when its respected sitting MP Chintaman Vanga of Palghar Lok Sabha constituency died suddenly due to a heart attack. His son joined the Shiv Sena and was given a party ticket.

In a poll-related development, around a dozen villages in the constituency have, under the banner of 'Bawanthadi Prakalp Sangharsh Samiti', resolved to boycott the May 28 by-elections demanding proper drinking and irrigation facilities for the farmers in the region.

The villages are Bhamnewada, Ganeshpur, Gobarwahi, Gudri, Heti, Khandal, Khairtola, Pavnarkheri, Sodhepur, Sundartola, Sitasawangi, and Yedarbuchi, with a combined population of around 30,000.

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