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Lok Sabha elections 2024: Dalits, Muslims may decide result in Aurangabad

Updated on: 04 May,2024 06:50 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sameer Surve |

Key constituency will see three-way fight among four-time MP Chandrakant Khaire, minister Sandipan Bhumre and AIMIM’s Imtiyaz Jaleel

Lok Sabha elections 2024: Dalits, Muslims may decide result in Aurangabad

Chandrakant Khaire, Sandipan Bhumre. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar and Imtiyaz Jaleel. Pics/Nimesh Dave

Key Highlights

  1. Shiv Sena (UBT) to anticipate significant support from Muslim voters
  2. This election marks a three-way battle
  3. Imtiyaz Jaleel, Chandrakant Khaire and Sandipan Bhumre are contesting elections

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Maratha voters chipped away at Shiv Sena’s long-held dominance in the Aurangabad constituency. But this time, the spotlight is on Muslim and Dalit voters, expected to sway the outcome. It’s a first for Shiv Sena (UBT) to anticipate significant support from Muslim voters. This election marks a three-way battle. Imtiyaz Jaleel of AIMIM, Chandrakant Khaire, a seasoned four-time MP representing Shiv Sena (UBT), and Sandipan Bhumre backed by CM Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena.

Imtiyaz Jaleel. Pic/Nimesh Dave
 Imtiyaz Jaleel. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Khaire boasts deep grassroots and personal ties in Aurangabad, while Jaleel garners strong Muslim backing. Bhumre, lacking local footing, relies heavily on Mahayuti MLAs. According to data, Shiv Sena has never led in Aurangabad city because Muslim voters dominate there. The city’s Muslim voters have a soft spot for UBT party chief Uddhav Thackeray, showing affection for his pandemic efforts. A fruit seller in Nirali Bazar expressed admiration for Thackeray’s work during the pandemic, said, “I will not tell you whom we will vote, but, indeed, Uddhav Thackeray worked very strongly during the pandemic.”

The elections in the Aurangabad constituency have always been influenced by religious politics. Chandrakant Khaire, representing the undivided Shiv Sena, won four elections with a Hindu-centric campaign. However, in the 2019 election, Khaire lost by a narrow margin of 4,492 votes. Independent candidate and former MLA Harshawardhan Jadhav played a significant role by gaining 2.83 lakh Maratha votes, disrupting Khaire’s calculations.

Jadhav, once affiliated with BJP leader Raosaheb Danve, resigned as MLA for the Maratha reservation, impacting Khaire’s chances.  Imtiyaz Jaleel of AIMIM clinched victory in the 2019 election, benefiting from vote division between Khaire and Jadhav. Khaire’s vote count decreased by 1.36 lakh compared to 2014, while Jaleel secured 3.89 lakh votes and Khaire garnered 3.84 lakh votes. Harshawardhan Jadhav received 2.83 lakh votes.

According to a senior journalist in Aurangabad, independent candidate Harshawardhan Jadhav will receive some support from Maratha voters, but not as much as in the last election. Chandrakant Khaire is expected to secure significant Maratha votes despite the Mahayuti wave, and he’s also likely to gain support from OBC voters. It seems voters are leaning towards established candidates in the three-way race.

Chandrakant Khaire. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Chandrakant Khaire. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Meanwhile, Sandipan Bhumre, a minister in Eknath Shinde’s cabinet, has served as a four-time MLA in the Paithan constituency of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Nagar district. However, his Vidhan Sabha constituency is not within the Aurangabad Lok Sabha constituency, so he lacks a personal connection with voters there. With five out of six MLAs in the constituency belonging to the Mahayuti, Bhumre’s dependency on them is evident. However, as a member of the ruling party, he possesses machinery that could significantly impact booth management. Additionally, being associated with the original symbol of the Shiv Sena could work in his favour.

Mashal used previously

The Mashal symbol isn’t new to the Aurangabad constituency. The first Shiv Sena MP, Moreshwar Save, contested with the Mashal symbol in 1989. However, the party later switched to the bow and arrow symbol. It’s noteworthy that a Thackeray candidate is once again contesting with the Mashal symbol.

Not Baan Vs Khan

Khaire was once synonymous with Late Balasaheb Thackeray’s Hindutva ideology. Shiv Sena often pits Baan (Hindu) against Khan (Muslim) in its campaigns. However, this time, Khaire has shifted his focus to a more inclusive approach. He’s distancing himself from rigid Hindutva, engaging with Muslim leaders, and highlighting the government’s work during the pandemic.

Common man rules

In his 30-year tenure as MLA and MP, Chandrakant Khaire has been known as the voice of the common man. Accessible round the clock, anyone can reach out to him within 24 hours. A journalist highlighted Khaire’s unique approach, where anyone from Aurangabad can stay at his official residence in Delhi. Over the years, thousands of students have benefited from this arrangement while preparing for civil services exams. Khaire also assists villagers with train reservations, providing letters for long-distance travel upon ticket presentation.

On the other hand, Imtiyaz Jaleel’s working style contrasts sharply. Described as a corporate MP, Jaleel’s office complicates simple tasks like obtaining travel letters. Applicants must meet in person, submit multiple documents, and endure delays, unlike Khaire’s straightforward assistance. This difference underscores Khaire’s simplicity and accessibility compared to Jaleel’s more complex approach.

Rural voters upset 

Rural voters are hesitant to support Mahayuti this time. Maratha voters are dissatisfied over reservation matters, and farmers are troubled by agricultural issues. These factors may affect Sandipan Bhumre’s performance. Additionally, there’s sympathy towards Uddhav Thackeray and Chandrakant Khaire. Historically, Khaire has secured victories with significant rural support.

Damage for MIM

In the previous election, Imtiyaz Jaleel garnered significant support from Muslims and Dalits. However, this time, Jaleel may struggle to secure Dalit votes because Afsar Khan from the Bahujan Vanchit Aghadi is also running. Khan is likely to attract Dalit voters. Meanwhile, Muslim votes may split between Khaire and Imtiyaz Jaleel, which could benefit Khaire, who typically doesn’t receive Muslim support.

Voter majority

The Aurangabad Lok Sabha constituency is primarily composed of OBC voters, making up 38 per cent of the electorate. Maratha voters constitute 24 per cent, while Muslims account for 22 per cent, and Dalits represent 19 per cent. Other communities such as Brahmins, Jains, Marwaris, North Indians, Bengalis, and Gujaratis collectively make up around 10 per cent. The total number of voters in the constituency is 20.7 lakh, with 10.40 lakh residing in urban areas and 9.66 lakh in rural areas.

Candidates in the fray


Imtiyaz Jaleel

Positive Points
>> Educated Muslim face
>> Raised corruption issues like MIDC land misuse and Adarsha Credit Society scam
>> Strong oratory skills
>> Attracts youth

Negative Points
>> No alliance with Bahujan Vanchit Aghadi
>> Lack of grassroots connection
>> Limited appeal beyond Muslim voters
>> Party growth stagnation

Chandrakant Khaire

Positive Points
>> Strong grassroots connections
>> Bonds well with rural voters
>> Expert in booth-level management 
>> Sympathetic towards voters 

Negative Points
>> Alienating alliance partners
>> Delayed door-to-door campaigning 
>> Weak advertising and presentation
>> Lack of localised agenda

Sandipan Bhumre

Positive Points
>> Machinery to influence the constituency
>> Support from 5 Mahayuti MLAs 
>> Benefits from religious vote 
>> Symbol of Shiv Sena

Negative Points
>> Lack of personal connection to the constituency
>> Limited BJP cooperation
>> Maratha voter dissatisfaction with Mahayuti 
>> Passive campaigning

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