Congress’ ‘Nyay’ Strikes a Chord in Maharashtra’s 9 SC/ST Seats; MVA Bags 8, MahaYuti One

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MUMBAI – The Congress’ ‘nyay’ (justice) narrative apparently struck a chord among Maharashtra’s Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes voters as the Maha Vikas Aghadi won 8 out of 9 reserved Lok Sabha seats while the ruling MahaYuti bagged one in 2024 elections.

The reserved LS constituencies in Maharashtra are — Amravati, Ramtek, Latur, Solapur and Shirdi (all SC), and Nandurbar, Palghar, Dindori and Gadchiroli-Chimur (all ST).

In the 2024 LS polls, the Congress bagged Solapur-SC (Praniti Sushilkumar Shinde), Amravati-SC (Balwant Wankhade), RAmtek-SC (Shyam Barve) and Latur-SC (Dr. Shivaji Kalge); plus Gadchiroli-Chimur-ST (Dr. Kirsan Namdeo) and Nandurbar-ST (Govaal Padavi).

The MVA allies Shiv Sena (UBT) bagged the prestigious Shirdi-SC (Bhausaheb R. Wakchaure) and Nationalist Congress Party (SP) won Dindori-ST (Bhaskar Bagare). On the MahaYuti, the Bharatiya Janata Party could trump only in Palghar-ST (Dr. Hemant Savara) — down from the five reserved seats it had won in 2019.

The Nandurbar (ST) was a prestige seat as it was once an all-time Congress stronghold which was swept in the BJP waves in (2014-2019) and in 2024, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress’ Priyanka Gandhi campaigned here.

Incidentally, in 2014 and 2019, the Congress had scored a zero in the nine SC-ST seats in the state but this time the party’s narrative of ‘nyay’ and potential Constitution change hugely turned the tide in its favour, while Rahul Gandhi had passed through Nandurbar in March during his second Bharat Jody Nyay Yatra.

The Nandurbar seat has always remained important for the Congress which used to launch its state poll campaigns here, starting with the late PM Indira Gandhi and then her son Rajiv Gandhi. Later, Sonia Gandhi addressed her maiden rally as the Congress ‘Top Boss’ here in 1998, while Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi have regularly campaigned here.

When the UPA came to power in 2004, the then PM Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi had zeroed in on the tiny Tembhli village of Nandurbar to launch the Unique Identification Authority of India on September 29, 2010, and a local villager was assigned the first Aadhaar Card – which is now a mandatory document for all citizens. The Amravati (SC) win was also crucial as the Congress defeated BJP’s sitting (earlier, independent) MP Navneet R. Rana in a tough fight, and ditto in Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST) where the Congress dislodged 2-time BJP MP Ashok Nete.

In Ramtek (SC), the Congress experienced hiccups when its original nominee Rashmi Barve’s nomination was rejected owing to a Caste Certificate issue, and her husband Shyam Barve was forced to contest, but he vanquished ruling Shiv Sena’s Raju D. Parve. Similarly, the Dindori (ST) win was a morale-booster for NCP (SP) which defeated the sitting BJP MP and Union Minister Bharti Pawar — who was among the 3 Central BJP ministers who were trounced in the state.

The famed pilgrim town of Shirdi (ST) proved a sweet revenge for Shiv Sena (UBT), which wrested it from ruling Shiv Sena’s two-time sitting MP Sadashiv K. Lokhande. (Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: q.najmi@ians.in) –IANS

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