Modi held only two election rallies in the region, at Wardha and Gondia. Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed three rallies at Wardha, Chandrapur and Nagpur, drawing good crowd. But the Congress-NCP alliance did not get any other strong leader to campaign in the region.
The BJP also benefited from the leadership of two of its biggest leaders, Nitin Gadkari and Devendra Fadnavis. The only two to challenge the BJP-Sena in the region were NCP-supported Independent candidate in Amravati, Navneet Ravi Rana, against Shiv Sena’s five-time MP Aanand Adsul, and Congress’s Suresh alias Balu Dhanorkar in Chandrapur who contested against three-time BJP MP and Union minister Hansraj Ahir. Dhanorkar had recently joined the party from the Sena.
Navneet Ravi Rana won with a margin of 36,951 votes against Adsul.
The margins of defeat for the Opposition were lower in this election. In 2014, the margins ranged from Gadkari’s 2,84,828 to Bhavna Gawli’s 93,816 This time, it appears to have dipped at many places.
The only candidate with a higher vote share than last time is BJP’s Sanjay Dhotre at Akola — he defeated VBA’s Prakash Ambedkar by a margin of 2,75,596 votes. Gadkari too had a lower margin due to a spirited fight by Nana Patole of the Congress.
In all Vidarbha constituencies, Ambedkar’s Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) made a dent. In Buldhana, the Shiv Sena’s Prataprao Ganpatrao Jadhav won again.
In Gadchiroli, the Maoist appeal to not to vote for BJP appeared to have had little impact, as the party’s candidate and sitting MP Ashok Nete won with a margin of 76,892 votes against Congress candidate Namdev Usendi. In Bhandara-Gondiya, where the NCP’s Madhukar Kukde had trumped BJP’s Henant Patle in the 2018 by-election necessitated by the resignation of Nana Patole, BJP candidate Sunil Baburao Mendhe was well ahead of rival Nana Panchbuddhe.