Election Fever: It’s Shetty vs Awade in Hatkanangale
Hatkanangale constituency is set to witness a tough fight between sitting MP Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and Congress candidate Kallapanna Awade in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election.
Shetty, who is contesting the election for the second time, has joined hands with the Mahayuti comprising BJP, Shiv Sena and RPI (Athawale). In 2009, he had contested the election as an independent candidate. Awade won the seat twice in 1996 and 1998 and has a strong hold in the constituency.
State labour minister Hasan Mushrif on Sunday met Awade and NCP members at Ichalkaranji to discuss the campaigning strategy. “Party chief Sharad Pawar has always worked for the betterment of farmers, but Shetty always targets him to attract attention. Time has come to show him his place. All the Congress and NCP members should come together forgetting their differences to defeat Shetty,” he said.
“Both the Congress and NCP will organize separate rallies at Ichalkaranji and then start campaigning together,” he added.
The Hatkanangale constituency comprises six assembly segments – Shahuwadi, Hatkanangale, Ichalkaranji, Shirol, Islampur and Shirala. Though the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance did not have any presence in the constituency before 2009, it won two seats in the 2009 assembly elections and is now eyeing the Hatkanangale seat with the help of Shetty.
Even as Shetty has won the seat in 2009 general election, his party could not win a single seat from the constituency in the state assembly election last time. Shetty’s vote bank mainly comprises sugarcane farmers who support him for his agitations over cane purchase price in the state.
In the 2009 assembly elections, the Congress-NCP alliance won three seats, including Mansinghrao Naik who quit NCP and defeated Shivajirao Naik, who contested as an independent candidate. Congress candidate Prakash Awade, who is Kallapanna Awade’s son, lost the Ichalkaranji seat to Suresh Halwankar of the BJP.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, NCP’s Nivedita Mane contested from Hatkanangale with the support of Congress but lost to Shetty. Awade had won the seat in 1996 and 1998 and defeated Mane on both the occasions. Mane contested the election in 1996 as an independent candidate and as a Shiv Sena nominee in 1998. Considering the past equations, Awade will be trying to bring together all the factions of the Congress and NCP.
Vinay Kore of Jansurajya Party, who has sizable followers in the constituency, will also play major role in the election. He won from Shahuwadi assembly constituency defeating Satyajit Patil of Shiv Sena in 2009. He recently met Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray and is likely to form an alliance with him. If the alliance takes shape, it may give ticket to Suresh Patil who has managed to gather sizeable support after forming Maratha Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti fighting for reservation of Maratha community.
News Source: The New Indian Express
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