Supriya Sule and Kanchan Kul.
Battlelines have been drawn for the much-awaited contest in the Baramati parliamentary constituency with a straight fight between two prominent candidates, sitting NCP MP Supriya Sule and BJP candidate Kanchan Kul.
There are a total of 18 candidates, including 10 independents, left for the Baramati Lok Sabha seat after seven candidates withdrew from the contest on the last day of withdrawal of nominations. A total of 31 candidates had filed their nominations but only 25 were found valid to contest the elections and seven of them withdrew from the elections.
The main fight will be between Sule and Kanchan. Sule is fighting to retain her seat and get elected for the third time consecutively. She was first elected in 2009 after her father and NCP chief Sharad Pawar decided to leave the seat for his daughter while shifting to the Madha parliamentary seat.
The 2009 election was a cakewalk for Sule but she faced stiff contest in 2014 from RSP candidate Mahadeo Jankar, contesting as a candidate of the BJP-Shiv Sena-RPI-RSP-Swabhimani Paksh alliance. For the 2019 elections, the NCP has left nothing to chance with Sule reaching out to voters almost six months before the elections.
The BJP, which was struggling to put up a strong candidate to take on Sule, decided to field Kul, wife of sitting RSP legislator Rahul Kul and daughter-in-law of former NCP legislator Ranjana Kul. Kul is a native of Baramati taluka and settled in Daund after marriage. The Daund Assembly segment is represented by her husband in the state Assembly, which is part of the Baramati parliamentary constituency.
The BJP is not leaving any stone unturned in the fight against Sule in the hometown of Pawar. The party had planned an election rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Baramati on April 10 but later decided to postpone it as part of a strategy. Now, it plans to hold it a few days before polling day scheduled on April 23.
Both the NCP and BJP are working hard in the Baramati parliamentary seat as its result will have implications in national politics. The NCP chief, party leader Ajit Pawar, state NCP chief Jayant Patil along with other party leaders are involved in the election campaign of Sule. On the other hand, the BJP has deputed state minister Chandrakantdada Patil to focus on the Baramati seat.