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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Lok Sabha elections 2024 Buldhana Uddhav Thackeray supporters may still vote danush baan

Lok Sabha elections 2024 | Buldhana: Uddhav Thackeray supporters may still vote danush-baan

Updated on: 25 April,2024 06:58 AM IST  |  Buldhana
Dipti Singh |

Party workers tell mid-day that there is confusion among rural residents and the elderly regarding the new symbol of the UBT Sena

Lok Sabha elections 2024 | Buldhana: Uddhav Thackeray supporters may still vote danush-baan

Shiv Sena (UBT) candidate from Buldhana district, Prof. Narendra Khedekar, campaigning in Sutala-Budruk village. Pic/Satej Shinde

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Lok Sabha elections 2024 | Buldhana: Uddhav Thackeray supporters may still vote danush-baan

In Buldhana, party workers and local Shiv Sena (UBT) activists say there is confusion among rural residents and the elderly regarding the new symbol of the divided Shiv Sena. They have expressed concern that residents, particularly those in the rural belt and the elderly demographic, might sway towards the ‘danush-baan’ (bow and arrow) symbol rather than their new ‘mashaal’ (flaming torch) symbol. 

Shiv Sena (UBT) party workers and activists say this may ultimately favour the incumbent Prataprao Shinde, a Shiv Sena candidate who has secured the seat three times previously.

Buldhana, situated in Vidarbha, boasts of Sindkhed Raja, reputed as the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s mother Jijabhai Bhonsale. Globally renowned, it also features the Lonar Crater Lake, formed by a meteorite strike around 5,00,000 years ago. However, the region is currently ensnared in a political crater due to a schism within the Shiv Sena.

Shiv (UBT) supporters at a rally in Buldhana district. Pic/Satej ShindeShiv (UBT) supporters at a rally in Buldhana district. Pic/Satej Shinde

Historically, the Buldhana Lok Sabha seat has been a Congress stronghold before shifting allegiance to the (undivided) Shiv Sena. Presently, it is witnessing a fierce contest between two rival factions of Shiv Sena, both striving for recognition in Buldhana, presenting a challenging scenario for both sides.

The Lok Sabha constituency encompasses vast agricultural expanses in the western region of Vidarbha and is scheduled for polling in the second phase on April 26. The incumbent MP from Shiv Sena, Prataprao Jadhav, is facing off against Prof. Narendra Khedekar from Shiv Sena (UBT) in what promises to be a closely contested battle.

Buldhana: An uphill climb

Prataprao Jadhav, the Shiv Sena candidate endorsed by Eknath Shinde, is vigorously campaigning through all corners of Buldhana. However, party workers and officials of Shiv Sena (UBT) express concerns over insufficient funds hindering their ability to conduct door-to-door outreach.

Party workers are concerned that there is confusion among residents over the new symbol of the divided Shiv Sena. “For many, the symbol of Shiv Sena is still 'Dhanush-baan,' and they have been voting for the undivided Sena for the past 15 years. However, there are many who are unaware of the new symbol—the flaming torch. They may inadvertently press the button for Dhanush-baan. We are making efforts to raise awareness about this,” said Raju, a local Sena (UBT) worker from Nipane village.

Shailaja Thakre, the Shiv Sena (UBT) deputy head of Shegaon zilla parishad, emphasised the commitment of Sena members to Balasaheb Thackeray's legacy. “We are Shiv Sainiks loyal to Balasaheb Thackeray. We cannot forget the promise we made to our beloved Balasaheb. Before leaving this world, he entrusted us, Shiv Sainiks, with the responsibility to take care of his son Uddhav and grandson Aaditya. In keeping with that promise, we will always support the family. We are willing to conduct door-to-door campaigns, but our activists cannot afford to fund it themselves. They require transportation, as well as compensation for food and water during the campaign. 

Unfortunately, the candidate lacks the necessary funds,” she said, adding that party workers need to demonstrate and clarify the difference between the two symbols but have been unable to do so due to financial constraints.

Khedekar, meanwhile, dismissed the significance of the Shiv Sena Vs Shiv Sena divide, asserting that people are disenchanted with the incumbent MP and even the BJP. “What Shiv Sena Vs Shiv Sena? It's Fake Shiv Sena Vs Original Shiv Sena! The Dhanush-baan they are parading was stolen from us and has lost its sanctity. People will vote for me. I have worked tirelessly on the ground. Therefore, I believe they will vote for me rather than Prataprao Jadhav, who has not contributed anything to Buldhana and its people in the three times he has won,” Khedekar remarked.

Political composition 

Since the first election in 1952, Buldhana has seen nine Congress candidates elected, six Shiv Sena nominees, and one each from the BPJ and the Republican Party of India (RPI).

The Buldhana Lok Sabha seat comprises six assembly constituencies. Currently, three are held by the BJP, two by the ruling Shiv Sena and one by Deputy CM Ajit Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party. The BJP legislators represent Chikhali (MLA Shweta Mahale), Khamgaon (MLA Akash P Fundkar), and Jalgaon-Jamod (MLA Sanjay Kute). The Shiv Sena holds Buldhana (MLA Sanjay Gaikwad) and Mehkar-SC (MLA Sanjay Raimulkar), while Sindkhed-Raja is represented by MLA Dr Rajendra Shingne. There is no representation from the MVA or INDIA bloc.

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