Solapur Lok Sabha constituency is set for a three-cornered contest with Congress’s Sushil Kumar Shinde, Vanchit Bahujan Agadhi chief Prakash Ambedkar and Lingayat spiritual leader Jai Siddheshwar Shiv Acharya filing their nominations for the reserved seat on Monday. All the three leaders took out massive rallies in a show of strength ahead of filing the papers.
Soon after filing nomination, Ambedkar hit back at Shinde, who on Sunday had said that the grandson of the architect of Indian Constitution was “trying to murder” the Constitution. “Shinde seems to have forgotten who tried to crush democracy and bring in dictatorship. It was the Congress,” Ambedkar said, in a sharp retort.
In a direct attack on the Congress leader, Ambedkar told The Indian Express that Shinde should explain to the people of Solapur as to what has be done for them. “Despite people reposing faith in me, he has failed to resolve the long-pending water problem. People of Solapur get water after days and this has been going on for years. I have come with a promise to resolve the crucial water problem of Solapur,” he said. Industrial development, he added, also has taken a hit in Solapur, with industries either shutting down or refusing to set shop in the district.
Earlier, Shinde had said that Dr B R Ambedkar had upheld the democratic spirit and fought for communal harmony, “…but Prakash Ambedkar was joining hands with communal parties and working at their behest”.
Taking a dig at the Vanchit Bahujan Agadhi (VBA) chief, MLA Praniti Shinde, daughter Sushil Kumar Shinde, said: “Ambedkar should update himself about the kind of development work my father has done for Solapur. From bringing 100-km pipeline, to setting up NTPC, industries and power grid, he has brought every other development projects”.
Referring to the severe water problem in Solapur, Praniti said, “When Congress was in power, people used to get water after two days. But despite having two ministers from Solapur, the BJP has not been able to ensure proper water supply to the citizens.”
Ambedkar, who was to contest from his home constituency of Akola, had changed his mind at the last minute and filed papers from Solapur. “My fight is against the BJP, not the Congress-NCP. The Congress candidate will be in the third spot,” he said.
In Beed, Pritam Munde, daughter of BJP leader Gopinath Munde, filed her nominations. After the death of Gopinath Munde, who had won from the seat in 2014 elections, Pritam contested the bypoll and won by a record margin in the history of India’s general elections. Pritam Munde polled 922,416 votes, defeating her nearest Congress rival Ashok Patil by a margin of 6,96,321 votes.
After filing her nominations, Pritam thanked the party for again reposing faith in her again. “In my next term, I will complete whatever projects that are pending,” she said.