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Veteran Cong MP and newcomer battle it out for Nandurbar seat


Nandurbar Lok Sabha seat in North Maharashtra is poised to witness an interesting contest between two Gavits

NandurbarNashik: Nandurbar Lok Sabha seat in North Maharashtra is poised to witness an interesting contest between two Gavits – a veteran Congress MP seeking a record tenth term and a debutante candidate from BJP – for the April 24 election.

Senior Congress leader and Union Minister of State for Social Justice Manikrao Hodlya Gavit (80), who has won the tribal-dominated seat nine consecutive times since 1984, has again been given the party ticket.

In Nandurbar constituency, a reserved seat for scheduled tribes, total nine candidates are in the fray, but the main fight is between Manikrao Gavit and BJP’s 26-year-old Dr Heena Gavit, who is contesting for the first time.

Heena is the daughter of former senior minister in state Cabinet, Vijaykumar Gavit, who was sacked by the NCP last month after she joined the BJP and got a ticket from Nandurbar LS seat.

Manikrao Gavit is trying hard to register his 10th win from the constituency and set a record.

“The adivasis still have trust in me. I have done many development works in the area and will continue to do so,” the veteran leader said.

Both the main contestants have been campaigning by approaching voters door-to-door, conducting public meetingsĀ and taking out padyatras assuring voters overall development.

Vijaykumar Gavit has also started campaigning for his daughter in the constituency, having six Assembly segments of Akkalkuva, Shahada, Navapur, Nandurbar, Sakri and Shirpur, to give a tough fight to the Congress veteran.

The total electorate in the constituency as on January 1, 2014, is 16,45,449, including 8,06,349 women.

The tribals in the constituency, situated on the border adjoining Gujarat, have been facing several problems including rehabilitation of their community members affected by the Narmada-Sardar Sarovar project, malnutrition of children, lack of proper medical and healthcare facilities, sources said.

They still have to take patients on foot over long distances to reach a hospital due to non-availability of proper roads, they said.

Many of the tribals here have migrated to Gujarat or other parts of Maharashtra in search of employment.

Besides, acquisition of tribal land, lack of proper drinking water are some of the other issues plaguing the constituency, known for its affiliation with the Gandhi family.

Earlier, leaders like former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi and former PM late Rajiv Gandhi had held huge rallies in the constituency.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s rally in 1999 had a massive turnout in Nandurbar.

Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi had launched the ambitious UID project in Tembhli village in tribal Nandurbar district in 2010.

Manikrao was also former Union Minister of State for Home in Manmohan Singh’s ministry, till he was asked to quit in 2008.

However, Heena intends to cash-in on the “wave” in favor of BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi in Nandurbar, which is situated close to Gujarat.

The other contestants from the seat are – Amit Sheklal Vasave of Bahujan Samaj Party, Ranjit Padavi contesting on Bahujan Mukti Party ticket, Aam Aadmi Party’s Virendra RavajiĀ Valvi, Arjunsingh Vasave of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh. Besides, three independents – Sobaji Devlya Gavit, C S Valvi and Mahesh Jaisingh Pavra – are also in the fray.

The constituency will go to polls on April 24.


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