After much brainstorming and trying to prevent rebellion inside the party, the Congress on late Tuesday evening issued another list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. The list of nine candidates has two from Kerala and seven from Maharashtra of which two are from Vidarbha.
As reported by The Live Nagpur, Manikrao Thakre, former minister of state for home and former MPCC President has been given the ticket from Yavatmal-Washim Lok Sabha constituency. However, Vishal Muttemwar, whose name was announced on Tuesday, withdrew from the race on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, The Live Nagpur was the first to report that Vishal Muttemwar, son of former MP and former Union minister was given ticket from Chandrapur Lok Sabha constituency with Thakre’s name almost being certain for Yavatmal.
Thakre will have a tough task of facing four-time sitting MP Bhavana Gavali from Shiv Sena. Gavali is representing the constituency since 1999 and till date has not lost the seat.
The other candidates declared by Congress include Adv Charulata Khajasingh Tokas from Wardha, K C Padvi from Nandurbar, reserved for Scheduled Tribe, Kunal Rohidas Patil from Dhule, former Maharashtra minister and former guardian minister of Chandrapur district Eknath Gaikwad from Mumai South-Central, Navinchandra Bandivadekar from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Ms Shanimol Usman from Alappuzha and Adoor Prakash from Attingal both from Kerala.
Twist in Chandrapur
Things were not easy for Vishal Muttemwar in Chandrapur. There was strong opposition for his candidature from the Congress workers itself. Messages made rounds one after another on social media opposing his name.
Initially, sitting Shiv Sena MLA from Warora, Balu Dhanorkar’s name was being discussed for the seat on Congress ticket. According to reports, Dhanorkar was to officially join Congress and the party was to give him the ticket. With Tuesday’s development, Dhanorkar has reportedly declared to contest the elections as an Independent candidate.
Looking at the opposition and resentment brewing among the Congress rank and file in Chandrapur, the Muttemwar junior withdrew himself from the race. His father Vilas Muttemwar, a seven-time MP and veteran Congress leader, called up Congress Election Committee member Mukul Wasnik and MPCC President Ashok Chavan on phone informing them that Vishal was withdrawing from the contest.
In this backdrop, name of former District Congress Committee President Vinayak Bangade is making round. Caste factor plays a crucial roles in the elections and the same was seen here too. With Congress giving tickets to two Kunbi leaders namely Manikrao Thakre and Adv Charulata Tokas, the Teli community – having a sizeable voters in Chandrapur – was upset. Hence Bangade’s name is now being considered, who belongs to Teli community.
Chandrapur seat is represented by Union Minister Hansraj Ahir, a BJP stalwart having a strong hold in the entire district.