NASHIK: Nationalist Congress Party ( NCP ) is fighting a fierce electoral battle in the Kalwan assembly constituency, a tribal heartland in rural Nashik, to breach the dominating presence of CPI(M) in that constituency.
The seven-time CPI(M) legislator, who is the lone torch bearer of the Left parties in Vidhan Sabha in 2014, Jiva Pandu Gavit, will take on NCP’s Nitin Pawar, son of the deceased political stalwarts of Nashik and former state minister,, A T Pawar, whom Gavit had defeated by a margin of about 4700 votes in the 2014 elections.
Gavit, immensely popular among the tribals in the state, was one of the architects of the historic farmers’ march from Nashik to Mumbai in March 2018 and again in February this year where tribals and farmers undertook a similar march from Nashik but was stopped midway after two senior ministers of the NDA government assured the organisers to look into their demands.
Although Shiv Sena’s Mohan Gangurde, is in fray, the main fight would revolve between Gavit and Pawar.
The significant aspect of this constituency is that consists of two talukas, Surgana and Kalwan.
While bulk of the voters of Surgana, which is Gavit’s home turf, has been traditionally tilted towards the Left, the mood of the voters in Kalwan taluka would play a decisive role in deciding Gavit’s fate in the ensuing polls.
Pawar hails from Kalwan taluka where the voters’ strength is marginally higher than Surgana taluka.
Gavit told TOI that he is confident that he would make it to the Vidhan Sabha for the eighth time as his main strength has been the people of the constituency.
“I am sure that like the voters of Surgana taluka, a sizeable section of electorate of Kalwan taluka would back me as they had done in the last assembly election,” added Gavit claiming that he has undertaken slew of projects in both the talukas in the last five years.
But many voters in the constituency opined that the Gavit’s road to Vidhan Sabha could be as bumpy one.
The veteran CPI(M) leader is faced with strong anti-incumbency and allegations of not doing much for the constituency, which Gavit vehemently denied.
In Dindori Lok Sabha polls held earlier this year Gavit was placed third behind BJP and NCP in his own assembly segment of Kalwan garnering about 58200 votes. BJP had won that parliamentary seat.
“There is a strong sentiment prevailing among a large section of Kalwan taluka voters that they need an elected representative from their own taluka. Moreover there is sympathy among the voters for Nitin as A T Pawar had passed away two years back.
BJP insiders of that constituency said that what could further spell problem for Gavit is that the Sena candidate, who hails from Surgana and has substantial hold in the urban parts of the taluka, could eat into Gavit’s votes in that taluka.
Pawar refused to comment much about his fight against the seasoned left leader.
“NCP is working overtime to win this seat. I have made honest efforts and it is up to the voters to decide the winner,” he added.