The June 20 poll will witness BJP’s Anil Sole, Congress’ Babanrao Taiwade and BSP-backed Independent candidate Kishore Gajbhiye vying with each other.
Nagpur News: Will the June 20 poll for Maharashtra Legislative Council from Nagpur Division Graduates Constituency spring surprise? Will the election end dominance of BJP over the seat? Or, will the legacy of 25-year rule of Nitin Gadkari continue and pass the baton to successive BJP candidate? All these and other questions and equations are being hotly debated as the date of poll neared.
One fact is clear and talked most. The Nagpur Graduates’ constituency has thrown a close triangular contest among BJP’s Anil Sole, Congress’ Babanrao Taiwade and BSP-backed Independent candidate Kishore Gajbhiye. All are prominent candidates in their own way.
BJP has fielded Professor Anil Sole who is the incumbent Nagpur Mayor.
Congress has given ticket to Babanrao Taiwade, Principal of Dhanwate National College, who is trying his luck for the second time after being defeated (by Gadkari) in previous 2008 polls.
The third strong candidate is Kishore Gajbhiye, a former IAS officer who was Divisional Commissioner of Nashik and also Commissioner for Tribal Development there.
This prestigious seat was held by former BJP National President and now Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. Gadkari, who had been representing the seat since 1989, resigned after his election as MP from Nagpur Lok Sabha constituency though his term was due to expire on July 19.
The BSP has decided to extend its support to Gajbhiye, who is hugely banking on Dalit votes.
Meanwhile, as the polls near, Gadkari is leaving no stone unturned while canvassing for Sole. On Sunday, he addressed a gathering of intellectuals along with builders and big wigs of institutions to drum up support for his party candidate from this seat, where upper caste voters have a firm grip.
Taiwade, a trusted lieutenant of MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre and Chief Minister Prithiviraj Chavan is banking on OBC votes particularly non-saffron ones. He is the joint candidate of Congress, NCP, RPI (Gavai), CPI, National Republican Party, Dalit Panthers and Teacher-Worker Employees of Nagpur University.
Taiwade is a popular figure in varsity circles and heads various academic bodies in Nagpur University. Both Chavan and Thakre along with NCP chief Bhaskar Jadhav addressed a joint campaign meeting in the city ahead of the polls, to boost the sagging morale of the party men after the recent Lok Sabha debacle.
Ballot mistakes may spoil party of candidates:
The voters of graduates’ constituency in Nagpur Division will have to be alert while voting this time as their ballot papers can stand cancelled in case of any mistake. The voters have to mention preference number in front of candidate’s name on ballot paper. The numbers will have to be written in English, Marathi in Roman language.
The voters are not supposed to use their own pen. If option of NOTA is to be used, voters would not be able to indicate any marking. Even ballot paper will be folded as per prescribed procedure. There are 2,87,000 voters in the constituency. The maximum voters are in Nagpur and they are graduates. So though there is less possibility of errors, any ballot paper getting disqualified can prove costly for candidates. Numbers in Marathi and Hindi languages are used by voters while mentioning preference numbers in front of name of candidates which is not valid. This time there is option of NOTA. If voter chooses this option, he or she would be able to mention preference number in front of name of candidate. If this is done so, the ballot paper can become invalid.
There are as many as 14 candidates in fray this time. It is essential to mention preference number in front of at least one candidate. In nutshell, instructions will be have to be followed properly by voters.