Latur, Apr 13 : The April 9 joint election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray received at Ausa in Latur, a predominantly Congress constituency, has set the tone for a straight fight between BJP and Congress for presidential polls on April 18.
In Latur(SC) constituency, since 1962 general elections, the mandate has been in favour of Congress except for 1977, 2004 and 2014. In the 17th Lok Sabha polls, there are ten candidates trying their luck. Main fight will be seen between two new faces--Congress candidate Machindra Kamat and BJP candidate.
Sudhkar Shrungare who is presently ZP member of BJP.Prakash Ambedkar led Bahujan Vanchit Agadhi is fileding Mr Ram Garker in the poll arena among others from smaller parties and independents. However, the BJP denied ticket to their present sitting MP Dr Sunil Gaikwad who was won 2014 election against the Congress' Dattatryya Basode in Modi wave.
While in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Mr Gaikwad lost to Congress nominee Jayant Awale by a slender margin of 7,975 votes. Actually, the election in Latur has emerged as a prestige issue of present guardian minister Sambhaji Patil-Nilangekar in BJP-SS led state government and Congress MLA of Latur Amit Deshmukhson of Mr Deshmukh. After reconstruction of Lok Sabha constituency since 2009 general elections, the Latur Lok Sabha has become a reserved constituency for Scheduled Caste (SC). Rest of the seven constituencies are open category in Marathwada region.
With only four days left for polling, canvassing has picked up in the constituency by the Congress and BJP who are visiting all the villages, holding corner meetings, Padyatras and get togethers with voters instead of big hoardings and banners.
Latur constituency comprises of Latur city, Latur (Rural), Ahmedpur, Udigir, Nilanga Assembly segments and parts of Loha telshils in Nanded.
BJP nominee Mr Shringare is seeking votes on the name of developments including setting up of coach factory plant in Latur district, highway roads and numbers of welfare schemes undertaken by the NDA-led government during the last five years.
While Congress nominee Mr Kamat accused that during the NDA-led government tenure unemployment issue become major concern.
He also said the BJP, ruling in civic and local bodies, failed to development works and taking credit works of development done by the late Mr Deshmukh. Apart from Mr Modi, senior state BJP leader Vinod Tawde, Guardian minister Mr Nilangekar and local party activists are making all-out efforts in convince the voters.
Sachin Pilot, the Congress leader from Rajasthan, former state minister Harshawardhan Patil, Balchandra Mungekar and Amit Deshmukh are campaigning for Mr Kamat.
The Constituency has a total of 18,66393 voters-- including 9,88,833 men, 7,77,529 female. The constituency will have 2003 polling booths. In all, 4004 employees will be deployed at the polling booths. For the first time VVPAT machine will also be used. To observe strict implementation of the Model Code of Conduct various departments have been constituted. Since 1962, the Lok Sabha election on 14 occasions, 12 times Congress nominee had won this constituency.
In 1977 elections, PWP candidates Udhavrao Patil in Janta Party wonwhile in 2004 polls, BJP candidate Rupatai Nilangekar daughter-in-law of former chief minister Shivajirao Nilangekar defeated Mr Chakurkar. (UNI)