Neither the 'Iron Man of India' Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel nor the 'Tiger of Mysore' Tipu Sultan are forgotten heroes as far as Maharashtra Assembly elections are concerned. Both these historic leaders have political parties named after them which are now in the poll fray with candidates in different parts of the state for the Oct 21 elections. Despite the obvious big names associated with them, it is not clear what sort of a challenge they pose to the other resourceful mainstream mega-parties.
The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Party (SVVP) has fielded candidates from Yavatmal, Deoli, Aurangabad East and in Mumbai's Borivali, Charkop, Mumbadevi, Anushakti Nagar and Vikhroli constituencies, on its officially allotted poll symbol of 'Mike'. "We are a small but highly committed party propagating the ideals of the great Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. We have a strong desire to make a change in politics and hope for public support in a big way," Rohit Sheth, a party member in Mumbai, told IANS.
Though low on resources, the party's candidates tagged by small bands of loyalists move around in various localities of the constituency soliciting votes.
Another is the 'Tipu Sultan Party', which contesting on its allotted symbol of 'Kettle' from 10 seats -- Pusad, Khamgaon, Osmanabad, Aurangabad East, Aurangabad Central, Majalgaon, Beed, Kaij, Parli and Tuljapur.
At least one party -- 'Digital Organisation of Nation Party' -- is firmly dedicated to modernisation and its sole candidate Anil Rathod is contesting from Pusad, on the symbol of 'Tractor Chalata Kisan' (Farmer driving a tractor).
Another one in the fray is 'Naitik Party' (Ethics Party), which has put up a candidate from Mira-Bhayander in Thane on the poll symbol of 'Tubelight' and another from Magathane in Mumbai on the 'Autorickshaw' symbol.
The Vikas India Party is dedicated to bringing progress and has put up a social worker M.L. Pawar from Karanja on the symbol of 'Battery Torch', an activist B.B. Vaidya from Parli and a lawyer S.B. Kamble from Beed, both contesting on the 'Ring' symbol.
One gent, K.S. Kambale has launched a party with the unusual name, 'Tararani Paksha' and is contesting the Hathkanangale seat on the 'Pressure Cooker' symbol.
There is another 'Jai Maha Bharath Party' contesting two seats -- P.N. Khedikar from Sakoli on 'Cup & Saucer' symbol and R.B. Gaikwar from Khanapur on the 'Flute' symbol.
Another little-known outfit is 'Hum Bharatiya Party', which has put up two candidates -- Vitthal Gaikwad from Nagpur South and Andrew J. Fernandes from Mumbai's Dahisar seat on the symbol of a 'Sugarcane Farmer'.
The people-oriented Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) may have some competition in Maharashtra. There is one 'Aapki Apni Party (Peoples)' contesting on three seats -- Sion-Koliwada, Dindoshi and Chembur - in Mumbai on the symbol of 'Binoculars', and the 'Hamari Apni Party' contesting three seats -- Pune Cantonment, Khed-Alandi, and Georai - on the 'Ring' symbol.
The 'Baliraja Party' (Farmers' Party), claiming to be the messiah of the peasantry, is dedicated solely to raising burning issues confronting the agriculture sector and is tilling for electoral luck on 23 seats in the rural areas on the symbol of a 'Plate With Food'.
The 'Bharatiya Manavaadhikar Federal Party', dealing with human rights issues, has put up candidates from Nagpur South, and Mumbai's Malad, Vile Parle and Malabar Hill constituencies on the symbol of 'Biscuit'.
Another spearheading the cause of humanity is the 'Akhil Bharatiya Manavata Paksha', whose sole candidate Vanita J. Raut is contesting from Chimur on the poll symbol of 'Pen Nib with 7 Rays'.
Raut has been in the limelight for her no-holds-barred, spirited campaign to abolish prohibition in the Chandrapur district and promises a land flowing with beer, whiskey and rum.
The once-famed 'Indian Union Muslim League' is still alive and kicking in the current elections. It has put up 13 candidates across the state all contesting on different poll symbols.
These are: Beed ('Carrom Board'), Byculla ('Key'), Ahmadpur ('Whistle'), Mumbra-Kalva ('Autorikshaw'), Mumbadevi ('Football'), Nanded North ('Almirah'), Nanded South, Kinvat, Bhusaval, Malad West (all, 'Cup & Saucer'), Bandra East and Versova ('Diamond'), Latur City and Shrivardhan ('Television').
Another Mumbai outfit called 'Aim Political Party' has put up candidates from Malabar Hill, Mumbadevi and Byculla on the symbol of 'Pen Nib With 7 Rays'.
A political loner, Issa Yasin is contesting from the Aurangabad East seat under the 'Majlees Bachao Tahreek' on the symbol of 'Gas Cylinder', but nobody seems to know much about the party.