With Assembly elections in Maharashtra just round the corner, offices of every political party in Nagpur have been witnessing quite a rush. Equations are being set for grabbing tickets. Congress party office here is no exception. The party’s avowed policy has been to allocate at least one ticket to woman candidate in the district. It had given ticket to District Congress President Sunita Gawande for Kamptee constituency and Yashomati Thakur for Tiwsa seat in Amravati District. But only Thakur emerged winner. This time at least half dozen women leaders are in the race for bagging ticket for one or the other constituency.
Facing hectic lobbying and intra-group pressures, the Congress continues to wrestle with the list of probable candidates for the State Assembly elections. The women leaders who are fighting a pitched battle for the tickets include Sunita Gawande, Kanta Parate, Abha Pande among others. Gawande is eying any seat from district while Parate and Pande are focusing on Central Nagpur seat. The plus point for Parate is that she represents Halba community. The Central Nagpur holds about 1.50 lakh Halba votes and a large chunk of Muslims. Halbas decide the fate of any candidate. In the last election, BJP’s Vikas Kumbhare, a Halba candidate, trounced Congressman, who also belonged to the similar community. But Kumbhare reportedly failed to the expectations of his Halba community. But the massive vote share the BJP received in Lok Sabha election has almost made Kumbhare’s candidature for this election a certainty. The only hurdle Kumbhare is facing for second stint in Assembly is opposition from his party leaders.
Political pundits who are well versed with politics of Central Nagpur opine that only a Halba candidate will stand the ground. Therefore, Kanta Parate is counting on this equation and staking claim for the ticket. Congress, too, knows that only Halba candidate stands the chance of winning the seat for party. Kanta has expressed confidence she will get the ticket. Abha Pande is pushing her name on the basis of being City Congress Women’s Committee President.
On the other hand, Congress leaders in Delhi are shuddering to think ticket for Anees Ahmed who is facing IB probe.