The stage is set for a straight contest between Nandini Parvekar of Congress and BJP veteran Madan Yerawar in the June 2 Yavatmal Assembly bypoll necessitated by the death of Nandinis husband and Congress MLA Nilesh Parvekar in a road accident a few months ago.
BJP rejected a Congress request to not contest and let Nandini be elected unopposed.
The contest in a way is a show of strength for newly-elected BJP state president Devendra Fadnavis and Congress state unit chief Manikrao Thakre.
Thakre reportedly pitched for his son Rahul but the Congress high command chose Nandini,hoping to cash in on the sympathy wave created by the death of her husband,who was popular for his well-mannered and positive ways of politics.
Nilesh had beaten Yerawar,a two-time MLA,in 2009 by a margin of over 20,000 votes. This was Yerawars second loss.
Congress,however,appears to be a divided house with Nileshs brother Yogesh also throwing in the hat,only to withdraw Thursday,two days before the last date. The sulking,however,continues, sources said.
BJP is upbeat with senior NCP leader Chandrakant Gade-Patil set to join it. He has already started campaigning for Yerawar. Gade-Patil had fought against Nilesh in 2009,polling over 18,000 votes. BJP feels his support will bring Yerawar back in contention.
Congress,however,does not consider this a factor. It says senior leader Balasaheb Chaudhary rebelled against BJP in last election to poll 24,000 votes and as such,Gade-Patils support will not help.
The Parvekar family feud,however,is a headache for the party. Nandini belongs to Karnataka and cant speak Marathi. But she has a strong political background. Her mother was a minister in the Deve Gowda cabinet and father Speaker of Karnataka Assembly.