Sena Likely to Replace Sitting Ramtek MP With Former Congress MLA

The Sena is confident that the BJP and independent legislator Ashish Jaiswal will work for Parwe to ensure his victory….writes Sanjay Jog

The Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena is likely to drop Krupal Tumane, its sitting MP from Ramtek Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha, and field Congress MLA Raju Purwe, who joined the party on Sunday, instead.

The change stems from opposition from ally BJP to Tumane’s renomination, as well as an internal survey, which also cites his bleak prospects due to a lack of connection with the voters and among the allies.

The announcement is expected soon as the last date for filing the nomination is March 27 and the polling is on April 19 in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections. Incidentally, the Congress has already fielded Rashmi Barve from Ramtek.

Parwe, who quit as the Congress legislator from the Umred (SC) constituency and joined the Sena in the presence of CM Shinde, is likely to get the ticket.

The party believes that Parwe will be in a position to woo the traditional voters of the Congress. Of the six Assembly segments in Ramtek, which include Umred, Karol is held by the NCP’s Sharad Pawar faction, Savner by the Congress, Hingana and Kamthi are with the BJP, and Ramtek is held by an independent.

The Sena is confident that the BJP and independent legislator Ashish Jaiswal will work for Parwe to ensure his victory.

“Party’s internal survey has been quite negative for Tumane if he is re-nominated. Recently, he had also told the senior leaders in the party that he may have to struggle to retain the seat. On top of it, the BJP has indicated its strong reservations over Tumane’s renomination. However, there is unanimity between the BJP, our party and the NCP of Ajit Pawar to make all efforts to win 45 plus seats in Maharashtra. Therefore, Tumane will have to be replaced,” a Sena leader said.

The leader added that Parwe is being considered for the Ramtek seat.

Another leader said that the BJP had staked claim over the Ramtek seat, citing Tumane’s poor track record as the MP in the last five years.

“The BJP had argued that the party with its strong organisational base is in a comfortable situation to win Ramtek. State BJP chief Chandrashekhar Bawankule had sought that CM Eknath Shinde be generous over its claim for Ramtek seat. Moreover, its proximity to Nagpur where party veteran Nitin Gadkari is contesting for the third time in a row will be another advantage for the cadre and RSS workers to work in Ramtek also,” the leader said.

Shinde faction argued that by nominating Parwe, the party, along with the BJP and Ajit Pawar’s NCP, will be able to get support from Scheduled Castes which constitute 17.5 per cent of the electorate, followed by 11 per cent of Scheduled Tribes and over 65 per cent rural voters.

During the 2019 elections, Tumane won with 594,827 votes defeating his Congress rival Kishor Gajbhiye who got 468,738. In 2014, Tumane defeated Congress candidate Mukul Wasnik from the same constituency, bagging 519,892 votes against Wasnik’s 344,101.

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