Pune | Maharashtra
Prestige of three powerful political clans at stake in western Maharashtra
As 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra go to polls in the third phase on April 23, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is locked in a titanic struggle with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to gain supremacy in western Maharashtra, which comprises ten of these seats.
Pawar, Vikhe-Patil, Rane
The prestige of several powerful political clans, including the Pawars’ (in the Baramati Lok Sabha seat), the Vikhe-Patils’ (in Ahmednagar) and the Rane family (in Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg), are at stake here.
While the BJP-Shiv Sena ‘Mahayuti’ is pulling out all stops to obliterate the influence wielded by the NCP satraps, especially the Pawar clan, in the ‘sugar belt’ the contest remains unpredictable owing to the personality-centric politics that have prevailed here for so long.
The weight of the NCP’s influence in this region was proportionately reflected in its seat-sharing with the Congress, with Mr. Pawar’s party fielding candidates in six of the 10 seats in western Maharashtra, leaving only two for the Congress (Pune and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg), while the others (Hatkanangale and Sangli) were claimed by their ally, Raju Shetti of the Swabhimani Paksha.
“The sugar cooperative has been the political unit in western Maharashtra for several decades, and the politics here has continually revolved round the influential sugar barons and political clans in this region. Despite several nationally prominent leaders hailing from districts here, ‘development’ has generally been restricted to small pockets while pressing civic issues have been completely sidelined,” says a local analyst from Sangli.
Patan | Gujarat
“Take care of ‘son of soil'”
My government will come back to power said Narendra Modi at a rally in Patan on Sunday asking them to give all 26 seats to him.
“Duty of people of my home state to take care of ‘son of soil’, give all 26 seats in Gujarat to me,” says Mr. Modi.
“If Gujarat doesn’t give 26 seats (to BJP), TV discussion on May 23 will be why it happened,” he added.
Firozabad | Uttar Pradesh
In Firozabad, Mulayam clan feud sets up Yadav vs Yadav battle
Akshay Yadav has accused Shivpal (in picture) of being the BJP’s “B-Team”.
Don’t waste your votes on candidates of outfits propped up “behind the curtains” and campaigning in the name of caste, religion and kin, BSP chief Mayawati cautioned voters in Firozabad on Saturday.
Addressing a rally of the SP-BSP alliance, she did not name anyone but her target was obvious: Shivpal Yadav, the estranged uncle of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. It’s not quite the “uncle vs nephew” contest that observers had hoped for, but Firozabad is the ground for a fresh bout between the members of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s clan. His brother Shivpal, who quit the SP to start his own party — Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) — after a long feud with his cousin Ramgopal and nephew Akhilesh, is contesting against Mr. Ramgopal’s son Akshay.
The Yadavs are the focus of this constituency, known for its glass and bangle industries. And the bitterness between the two sides has been a major feature of the campaign. Mr. Akshay Yadav, the SP’s sitting MP, has accused Mr. Shivpal of being the BJP’s “B-Team”.
In Saturday’s rally, he suggested that his uncle was being funded by the BJP, wondering how a new party could afford helicopter rides for canvassing.
Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala
Special security focus on north Kerala booths
With just three more days to go for the Lok Sabha election, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena on Friday reviewed the security arrangements in the State.
There will be special focus on polling stations in north Kerala regions that face Maoist threat, he said. “Maximum focus is on those areas,” Mr Meena said. State Police Chief Loknath Behera and senior police officers, officers of the Central Industrial Security Force and Border Security Force attended the review. “’We have reviewed the entire arrangements for ensuring free and fair elections in the State. We have deployed adequate security forces including the police everywhere. Each and every booth we have taken care off,” he added. The CEO held a video-conference with the general, expenditure and police observers as part of reviewing the Statewide arrangements for the April 23 election.
Shivamogga | Karnataka
NDA’s totalitarian regime will end soon: Deve Gowda
Terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s style of functioning ‘dictatorial’, H.D. Deve Gowda, national president, JD(S), said the totalitarian regime of the NDA government at the Centre will soon end.
He was addressing an election campaign meeting at Umblebailu village near here on Saturday.
Alleging that the decision taken by the BJP-led government on demonetisation sent the rural economy into disarray, he said that despite his repeated requests to Mr. Modi to compensate farmers who have suffered financial losses due to the drought that had prevailed in Karnataka, no action was taken. The rural distress would oust the BJP from power, he said. Mr. Gowda said the JD(S) and Congress had joined hands to form the government in Karnataka to strengthen democracy. Though there were differences between the cadres of JD(S) and Congress initially, they have now understood the objective behind forging the alliance, he said.