This time, Congress is facing an acid-test on pan-India level as well in their stronghold constituencies. In Maharashtra the party is facing double anti-incumbency. Reason being Congress has been ruling the state and the center since the last 10 years. Also the price rise and increase in unemployment has multiplied the problems for the party.
When the Latur is discussed any where amongst the political pundits and media panel, Vilasrao Deshmukh, his ancestral link and the legacy behind his turf has never been sidelined. But after the demise of former Chief Minsiter, Congress has been losing its grip. Mr Rao’s eldest son Amit Deshmukh, MLA from Latur, is not yet well-connected with the grass-roots. In fact, it was mainly the result of his remarkable series of victories that he was allotted the portfolio of Home Ministry in spite of losing Latur LS seat to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Rupatai Nilangekar in 2004.
On the other hand, Vilasrao Deshmukh also played a pivotal role in holding Congress flag high on this crucial seat and in 2009. After delimitation, the seat became reserved. Deshmukh brought his influence over the seat into application and ‘scripted’ the victory of outside candidate Jaywantrao Awale.
The worries of the parties have not ended here. Recently the killing of Latur’s Congress youth leader Kalpana Giri and the involvement of congress party worker has escalated the tensions to the state and central leadership.
On April 8, Narendra Modi along with Rajnath Singh did a rally in Latur for Sunil Gaikwad, the BJP Lok Sabha contestant. The saffron party has given ticket to Sunil Gaikwad, who lost the last general elections by a narrow margin of just 7,975 votes. The party is hopeful that Gaikwad will benefit from ‘Modi wave’ and would be able to reduce the last time’s margin and emerge winner.
Meanwhile, BJP is also leaving no stone unturned to make its presence felt in the region and take advantage of the ‘vacuum’ left behind by late Vilasrao Deshmukh.