Congress leader Ashok Chavan is defending his constituency Nanded in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
He is fighting against BJP’s Pratap Patil Chikhlikar to win this Congress bastion.
In 2014, Nanded was one of the two seats Congress won of the 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra.
In 2009, Chavan’s brother-in-law Khatgaonkar Patil Bhaskarrao Bapurao had won the seat. Bapurao had later switched from Congress to the BJP.
Chavan has tried to downplay infighting in the party’s state unit even as Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil resigned as the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly after his son joined the BJP.
The Congress is in alliance with the NCP in the state, contesting on 26 and 22 seats respectively. They are fighting an alliance of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.
Chavan told Hindustan Times that there was strong undercurrent against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP-led governments at the Centre and in the state.
“Academicians, authors, thinkers and minorities fear the government, its agencies and political supporters. Right-wing outfits such as Sanatan Sanstha are getting a free hand to do what they want. Businessmen are under the fear of enforcement directorate and other authorities. Farmers’ suicides are on the rise and Maharashtra tops the list,” he said.
He also criticised BJP’s “act of nationalism and patriotism” after the party fielded offer Pragya Thakur from Bhopal.