Osmanabad, Apr 14 : This prestigious seat of Maharashtra is set to witness a neck-to-neck fight between two rival Maratha cousins on April 18, who are pitted against each other for the first time.
NCP's Rana Jagjitsinh, presently representing Osmanabad Assembly constituency and son of former NCP MP Dr Padmasinh Patil, is contesting against Shiv Sena candidate and his cousin Om Raje Nimbalkar, son of late Pawanraje Nimbalkar.
NCP chief and Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar, who is a close relative of Dr Patil, is seen campaigning for Mr Rana in Osmanabad. Besides, Dhananjay Munde has also been seen campaigning, along with other senior leaders of NCP.
Dr Padmasinh is an alleged accused in the murder case of Pawanraje Nimbalkar, father of Om Nimbalkar. He is now on bail.
Traditionally a Congress bastion since 1957 for 10 years, it was only on four occasions that the Shiv Sena has managed to wrest the Osmanabad Lok Sabha seat from Congress, while the NCP won once in 2009.
In the last 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Dr Patil was defeated by Shiv Sena's Ravindra Gaikwad. While in 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Prof Gaikwad lost the election against Dr Patil, by a slim margin of 6,314 votes.
Among 14 candidates who are contesting this election, Vanchit Bahujan Agadhi has fielded Arjun Salgar, while others from smaller parties and independents are also trying their luck.
There are a total of 18,71,381 voters, who will exercise their franchise in 2120 polling booths in the constituency, which is dominated by Marathas, followed by Dhangar and Muslims, as well as OBCs.
Osmanabad LS constituency is typically carved out of three districts - Osmanabad, Latur and Solapur - comprising six Assembly segments of Ausa, Osmanabad, Umarga, Tuljapur, Paranda and Barshi.
Mr Pawar himself is putting his weight behind Mr Rana, apart from Party Pradesh chief Jayant Patil and NCP heavyweights- Dhananjay Munde, Jitendra Aawad and Chitra Wagh.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a joint rally with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at Ausa in Latur district for the Sena-BJP-RPI-A candidates at Latur and Osmanabad on April 9.
Apart from this, BJP senior leaders like Pankaja Munde, Sena leader Neelam Gorhe, Uddhav Thackeray and Aditya Thackeray were slated to campaign in favour of Mr Nimbalkar.
Adv Prakash Ambedkar also addressed the election rallies in support of Mr Salgar.
Allegations and counter allegations between Congress-NCP Mahagadhi and SS-BJP alliance was seen during their various campaigns, during the past fortnight.
The LS constituency was reserved for SC, since 1977 to 2009 LS elections.
Seeing the previous scene of the LS polls, Congress has won 10 times, Shiv Sena four times and NCP won in 2009.