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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Not sympathy weve worked hard for Chandrapur says Cong candidate Pratibha Dhanorkar

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: 'Not sympathy, we’ve worked hard for Chandrapur,' says Cong candidate Pratibha Dhanorkar

Updated on: 12 April,2024 05:22 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dipti Singh |

Widow of Balu Dhanorkar, Pratibha vows to win coveted seat in Vidarbha against BJP heavyweight Sudhir Mungantiwar

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: 'Not sympathy, we’ve worked hard for Chandrapur,' says Cong candidate Pratibha Dhanorkar

Pratibha Dhanorkar, Congress candidate, Chandrapur

The unexpected loss of her husband in May 2023 and the intense political rivalry with BJP heavyweight Sudhir Mungantiwar leading up to the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024 are not the only challenges Congress candidate Pratibha Dhanorkar is confronting. She is also embroiled in a fierce struggle within the local party unit over her candidature for the Chandrapur seat.
Dhanorkar, the widow of the late Suresh ‘Balu’ Dhanorkar, who secured the sole victory for Congress in the western state during the 2019 general election, was granted candidacy due to her husband’s untimely demise. Additionally, she is also the MLA from Warora.

Congress’s Chandrapur candidate Pratibha Dhaorkar interacting with party workers. Pic/Satej Shinde
Congress’s Chandrapur candidate Pratibha Dhaorkar interacting with party workers. Pic/Satej Shinde

In an interview with mid-day, Dhanorkar emphasised that despite being mocked by her opponents and BJP leaders, she is not seeking votes based on sympathy but rather based on the work she and her husband have tirelessly undertaken for their constituencies. Speaking to mid-day after a tiring rally in the Balharshah area, Dhanorkar asserts she won’t relinquish the seat as it’s not just an electoral contest between Dhanorkar and Mungantiwar but a battle between dictatorship and democracy.

Your political opponent is BJP candidate Sudhir Mungantiwar, who boasts a six-term tenure as MLA and has held significant ministerial positions, including Forest, Cultural Affairs, and Fisheries in Maharashtra. How do you anticipate the battle will unfold?
Sudhir Mungantiwar stands before me as a candidate, a seasoned leader in Maharashtra politics with vast experience. Hence, my battle won't be an easy one. However, I don't view it as Dhanorkar versus Mungantiwar fight. To me, it's a fight between democracy and dictatorship. I draw strength from times of struggle; the greater the challenge, the greater the victory.

Mungantiwar has time and again said that people will not repeat the mistake of voting for Congress. What would you say?
People are not relying on the BJP to dictate their voting choices. They have seen the work accomplished during my four and a half years in office. Hence, they will exercise caution this time to avoid making the mistake of voting for the BJP. Mungantiwar also said that there is a wave of anti-incumbency and that the constituency has been neglected by the sitting public representatives.

Neglected, how? Mungantiwar and the BJP need to substantiate their claims. They boast that significant development projects have been undertaken for the constituency by them. I challenge them to specify these developments. Simply erecting buildings does not equate to development. True development is evidenced by the creation of more job opportunities and an improvement in the standard of living for the people in the constituency. We have successfully brought in development projects worth crores, and also got projects that helped in the creation of job opportunities for approximately 10,000 to 15,000 individuals.

You faced strong opposition from within your party before being given the ticket from Chandrapur. Last month, you even said that these intra-party opponents are on the BJP payroll. What's the situation now?
That was all before the candidature was decided upon. Instead of delving deep into the issue, I would like to emphasise that everyone has the right to demand and assert their claim for the seat they wish to contest. However, since I filed the nomination, everyone has rallied in my support.

There have been discussions in political circles about a potential sympathy factor working in your favour. How do you perceive this?
I lost my husband suddenly, and it has profoundly impacted my life. However, I want to clarify that I am not leveraging his death for votes. I am not seeking sympathy; rather, I aim to uphold his legacy. He won the seat, and I am determined not to let it slip into the hands of the BJP again. Mungantiwar even commented on my breaking down while talking to the media. A woman who has lost her husband might tend to feel sad and break down. It was not for sympathy. Also, I would like to tell my rivals, Me radnaari naahi... tar ladhnaari aahe. (I am not someone who cries, but someone who fights.)

What do you consider important issues for the LS election in the constituency, that you would want to focus on?
There are numerous pressing issues in the constituency. For instance, the region has long struggled with water woes, yet there has been no permanent solution implemented. Additionally, there are concerns regarding increasing pollution from thermal power plants and the need for better wildlife protection. Human-wildlife conflicts are prevalent, especially in villages near the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve borders and corridors. These communities are at the forefront of such conflicts and require community-focused preventive measures. Despite serving as the Minister of Forest, Mungantiwar has not taken concrete steps to address these issues. Just getting film stars and building resorts might increase tourism but not resolve these issues.


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