Lok Sabha polls: MVA dominates sugar belt of Maharashtra

Kolhapur: In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance dominated western Maharashtra, securing five out of six seats. However, in 2024, the Mahayuti alliance, comprising the BJP, Shinde Sena, and Ajit Pawar-led NCP, faced a significant defeat in the state’s sugar belt, losing four out of six seats to the MVA.

The agrarian economy in western Maharashtra mostly relies on the cash crop of sugar cane, and the region was earlier dominated by Congress and NCP.

Despite this, the BJP made significant gains in western Maharashtra in 2019, winning the Sangli, Solapur, and Madha Lok Sabha constituencies. Its ally Shiv Sena secured the Kolhapur and Hatkanagale seats, while the NCP only managed to win Satara.

This time, a united MVA — an alliance of NCP (SCP), Shiv Sena (UBT), and Congress — achieved a dramatic electoral turnaround. Congress won the Kolhapur and Solapur seats. Congress’ “rebel” candidate, Vishal Patil, defeated BJP’s incumbent MP Sanjay Patil in Sangli. NCP (SCP) also triumphed over the BJP in Madha, while the BJP managed to win the Satara seat for the first time. The Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena retained its Hatkanagale seat.

The 2024 LS election was notable for the western region as two descendants of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj contested for the first time. Shahu Chhatrapati from Kolhapur ran on a Congress ticket, while Udayanraje Bhonsle was the BJP candidate from Satara. Shahu Chhatrapati defeated Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Mandlik by over 1.5 lakh votes, while Bhonsle defeated NCP (SCP)’s Shashikant Shinde by 32,771 votes. Despite this success in Satara, the BJP faced a significant loss in Solapur, where Congress candidate Praniti Shinde, daughter of former Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, defeated BJP’s Ram Satpute by 74,197 votes.

In Madha, despite internal opposition, the BJP fielded incumbent MP Ranjeetsinha Naik Nimbalkar. NCP (SCP) chief Sharad Pawar capitalized on the unrest within the BJP over Nimbalkar’s candidacy and brought Dhairyasheel Mohite Patil from BJP to his side, who defeated Nimbalkar by 1,20,837 votes.

The BJP also lost the Sangli seat, despite the MVA facing a rebellion when Congress leader Vishal Patil decided to run as an independent. The MVA had fielded Shiv Sena’s Chandrahar Patil against BJP’s incumbent MP Sanjay Patil, who lost to Vishal Patil.

Amidst the MVA’s resurgence in western Maharashtra, the Shinde Sena retained its Hatkanagale seat. Incumbent MP Dhairyasheel Mane won the quadrangular contest against MVA’s Satyajeet Patil by 13,426 votes, defeating farmer leader and former MP Raju Shetti and VBA’s Dadgonda Chavgonda Patil. The Lok Sabha election results in the state are likely to impact both the MVA and Mahayuti in the upcoming assembly polls scheduled for October this year. The MVA aims to build on their LS poll success in western Maharashtra, while Mahayuti will need to regroup its supporters before the assembly elections.


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