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Lok Sabha elections 2024: ‘Baramati contest neither about Rahul nor Modi’

Updated on: 09 April,2024 07:25 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sanjeev Shivadekar |

After Fadnavis ‘nationalises’ battle for seat, NCP patriarch takes focus back to local level

Lok Sabha elections 2024: ‘Baramati contest neither about Rahul nor Modi’

Sharad Pawar, NCP (SP) chief

Days after Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis attempted to change the narrative of the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency contest from the local to the national level, the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar) camp made a quick attempt to reverse this. Last week, Fadnavis stated that the Baramati fight was about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi and not a contest between sitting MP Supriya Sule—the daughter of Sharad Pawar—and Sunetra Pawar, the wife of his estranged nephew and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

Do-or-die battle

As the Baramati election is seen as a do-or-die battle for both Sharad and Ajit Pawar’s camp, both NCP factions admit that it is not a cakewalk for either candidate. Fadnavis’s statement during his rally in Indapur, one of the six Assembly seats that comprise the Baramati parliamentary constituency, was seen as a move to shift the narrative from local to Delhi and make things easy for the Ajit camp.

Sensing that this statement of Fadnavis might have an impact on voting patterns, the octogenarian leader attempted to neutralise the situation in a public speech, saying, “Will Modi or Rahul come to address issues in this area? This election is all about the people of Baramati and not Modi versus Gandhi.” Sule, a three-term MP, is facing a tough contest from Sunetra Pawar. The Pawar clan’s internecine battle is an outcome of a recent development, the split within the NCP as Ajit joined the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government.

This is not the first time that Fadnavis has come out to bail Ajit Pawar. The former held a series of meetings with BJP leader Harshvardhan Patil and Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde camp) leader Vijay Shivtare and managed to patch things up between leaders of the Mahayuti who opposed Sunetra Pawar’s candidature. Patil had strongly opposed campaigning for Sunetra Pawar. In fact, Shivtare had even announced he would contest the Baramati seat independently against Ajit Pawar’s wife. At a time when Pawar Jr was unable to defuse these internal tensions, Fadnavis played a key role, ensuring that both Patil and Shivtare actively campaigned for the Sena-BJP-NCP (Ajit Pawar) candidate in the region.

No of Assembly seats within Baramati LS constituency

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