The simmering discontent between BJP and Shiv Sena in Latur has thrown up one of the most interesting results in the history of Indian election.
This is for the first time that none of the above (NOTA) has finished second with 19,133 votes (13% vote share). The winner, Dhiraj Vilasrao Deshmukh polled 1,09,983 votes (75% vote share), another interesting detail is the Shiv Sena candidate Ravi Ramraje Deshmukh with 7,013 votes, lost his deposit.
The constituency saw Rahul Gandhi coming out of a five month hibernation after the Lok Sabha drubbing. October 13 was carefully chosen by the Congress brass as a date for Rahul’s relaunch as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah visited the constituency.
However, the reasons for NDA’s candidate losing out to NOTA has been brewing for long. The drought-hit Latur district in parched Marathwada region has been the hotbed of the brewing tensions between the saffron allies.
A delimitation exercise had ensured the Renapur seat was divided into Parli and Latur Gramin constituencies. The BJP’s decision to swap Latur Gramin with Sena for the Ausa seat has sparked rebellion within the saffron ranks.
The Sena workers had carried out a highway blockage over BJP’s candidate Abhimanyu Pawar, a personal assistant to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for Ausa. What angered them more was the party’s decision to swap Latur seat with the Shiv Sena.
The local BJP unit had taken a decision to choose NOTA citing the party’s control over all the eight gram panchayat samiti seats and almost all of the 10 nagar parishad seats while making a point against the Sena, which had polled only 2,500 votes in the 2014 state elections.
(With inputs from agencies)