While Shivraj Patil, a former Union Minister and four-time MP is the current Governor of Punjab, Vilasrao Deshmukh, an ex-Maharashtra Chief Minister and former Union Minister passed away unexpectedly in 2012.

Shivraj Patil has an impressive track-record to boast of and there are several reasons behind why the party will miss his presence this time around. The former Lok Sabha Speaker got elected to Lower House from Latur consecutively four times from 1980 to 1999. 

In fact, it was mainly the result of his remarkable series of victories that he was allotted the portfolio of Home Ministry in spite of losing Latur LS seat to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Rupatai Nilangekar in 2004.

On the other hand, Vilasrao Deshmukh also played a pivotal role in holding Congress flag high on this crucial seat and in 2009. After delimitation, the seat became reserved. Deshmukh brought his influence over the seat into application and ‘scripted’ the victory of outside candidate Jaywantrao Awale.

However after his demise, the Congress is clueless in Latur constituency. Under the guidance of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, the party, though the primary process, issued ticket to party’s district unit president Dattatray Bansode ‘Guruji’, who is believed to have a clean image.

Meanwhile, BJP is also leaving no stone unturned to make its presence felt in the region and take advantage of the ‘vacuum’ left behind by Shivraj Patil and Late Vilasrao Deshmukh.

The saffron party has given ticket to Sunil Gaikwad, who lost the last general elections by a narrow margin of just 7,975 votes. The party is hopeful that Gaikwad will benefit from ‘Modi wave’ and would be able to reduce the last time’s margin and emerge winner.

Senior saffron party leader Gopinath Munde has been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring Gaikwad’s victory from Latur seat, while Congress has deputed former chief minister and one of the key accused in Adarsh Housing scam Ashok Chavan to look after the party’s affairs and winnability prospects in this constituency.

Congress made a calculated move of giving Chavan this major responsibility as there is no other big leader left in this politically crucial region. Besides, Chavan’s home constituency Nanded also receives ‘back-lift’ via Latur seat.

Political future of Vilasrao’s son Amit Deshmukh also depends on the outcome of Latur seat as a win would add wings to his political flight.

JPN/Bureau

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