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Ashok Chavan’s only pitch is that he is Shankarrao’s son: Prataprao Patil Chikhalikar, BJP MP from Nanded

BJP MP Prataprao Patil Chikhalikar, who upset former CM Ashok Chavan’s bid for a second term in the Lok Sabha, tells The Indian Express he expects his arch rival to taste defeat again.

Prataprao Patil Chikhalikar

BJP MP Prataprao Patil Chikhalikar, who upset former CM Ashok Chavan’s bid for a second term in the Lok Sabha, tells The Indian Express he expects his arch rival to taste defeat again.

Less than six months since you defeated former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan at the Lok Sabha elections, how do you see the electors’ mood in the Bhokar Assembly segment of Nanded?

Now that candidates have been declared, we know that Ashok Chavan, who is returning to Bhokar to contest the Assembly election, is facing former NCP Nanded district president Baburao Gorthekar, who is also a former MLA and now the BJP candidate. There is every sign currently that Gorthekar will win. The reason for that is that people of Bhokar are aware that no development projects came to the constituency during Chavan’s tenure. At every election rally, his pitch to voters was merely that he is Shankarrao Chavan’s son and that Shankarrao Chavan had changed the face of the district. Nobody doubts or disputes that, but voters are also aware that in his own tenure as chief minister and Bhokar MLA, they were deeply disappointed.

By Chavan’s own assessment, the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi candidate polling over 1 lakh votes was the cause of his defeat. Will that be a factor again?

No, the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi cannot be called a factor in my victory in the Lok Sabha election. The truth is that there was anger against the Congress candidate who had been minister for 15-20 years and also chief minister but had brought no development to Nanded district. People could see clearly that a BJP government is going to be formed, and voting for a Congress candidate who could not do anything when he was CM was not logical when that candidate would have to sit in the Opposition.

Your son and supporters are said to be angry at the Loha Assembly seat being kept with the Shiv Sena. Is your son going to contest from Loha as an independent? Are you talking to the Sena?

I have worked in this constituency from 1992, and became Zilla Parishad (ZP) president and vice-president in successive terms. Then in 2004, I contested the Vidhan Sabha elections as an independent and won. Later, I became a Sena MLA and now I have moved to the BJP and am the Lok Sabha MP. My son and daughter are both elected ZP members. My son is also a director on the board of the district cooperative bank. Over these years in public life, naturally I have contacts across the constituency and have received people’s love and support. A couple of days back, 4,000 people arrived at my doorstep with a morcha, demanding that I should make Pravin (my son) contest as an independent. I have explained to them that I am now a committed BJP member, and that things may still change. Let us wait a day, the last day for nominations is almost here. The picture will be clear soon.

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You are not saying that Pravin will not contest as an independent. Instead, you’re saying the picture will be clear in two days.

Well, his supporters are egging him on. He is young, you must consider the age factor. Certainly, he listens to me, he is not somebody who goes against my word. But in any case, there is just a day to go, let us see how things play out.

Soon after your win, you promised major development projects for Nanded. What is the progress on those?

I have already made good on my promise — there is a Rs 5,152-crore Nanded-Bidar railway line that has been approved, the details are mentioned in the detailed Union budget book. Work will definitely start soon. I have also spoken to Union Minister

Nitin Gadkari about more development work and he has suggested that I submit a proposal regarding what kind of industrial development will be appropriate for Nanded. I am working on that.

First published on: 04-10-2019 at 04:54:55 am
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