Osmanabad is all set for an electoral battle between the second-generation candidates of two powerful political families, who will take forward the political rivalries of their fathers. While NCP has nominated sitting MLA Ranajagjitsinh Patil, the Shiv Sena has decided to drop controversial MP Ravindra Gaikwad and fielded former MLA Omraje Nimbalkar instead.
Located in the arid Marathwada region, the Osmanabad seat has been the scene of intense political rivalry that even includes a murder case. Ranajagjitsinh’s father, Dr Padmasinh Patil, is one of the most prominent leaders of the district and was elected as the Osmanabad MP in 2009. Prior to that, he had been elected to the state assembly from Osmanabad eight times and also held several important portfolios in the state cabinet. He is considered to be a close confidant of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his sister Sunetra is married to Pawar’s nephew, former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar.
Popularly knows as the ‘doctor’, Patil has faced his share of controversies. The Justice P B Sawant committee had indicted him for alleged misappropriation of funds collected for Kargil martyrs, but the NCP leader had denied the charges. Click here for more election news
In the wake of the controversy, NCP dropped Patil from the state cabinet and made his son a minister instead. Over the years, the Congress and NCP have retained control of the majority of constituencies in Osmanabad while the Zilla Parishad remained under NCP control.
Patil’s political fortunes took a further hit when, in 2009, he was arrested for his alleged involvement in the 2005 murder of his cousin and one-time close confidant Pawanraje Nimbalkar. He was later released on bail and the trial in the case is still going on.
Nimbalkar was once responsible for managing the political affairs of Patil, but the duo had fallen out over a fued on the control of cooperative institutions in the region. Nimbalkar went on to join the Shiv Sena and managed to strengthen the party’s presence in Osmanabad, much to the chagrin of Patil. The Sena leader was found murdered near Alibaug in 2005.
The NCP once again fielded Padmasinh Patil from Osmanabad in the 2014 lok Sabha elections, but he lost to Shiv Sena’s Ravindra Gaikwad by over 2 lakh votes.
This year, the Sena has decided not to field Gaikwad, who has been involved in multiple controversies in the last five years, and was even barred by a few airlines after he slapped an Air India officer in 2014.
The Sena candidate this year is Omraje Nimbalkar, the son of Pawanraje Nimbalkar. Beyond their family connections, Omraje and NCP candidate Ranajagjitsinh also share a history of political rivalry.
In the 2014 assmbly elections, Omraje had lost to his cousin Ranajagjitsinh by over 88,000 votes. This was a reversal of political fortunes for both candidates as, in the 2009 assembly elections, Omraje had defeated Ranajagajitsinh by over 16,000 votes.
Their rivalry will now continue in the Lok Sabha elections, as they fight it out for the Osmanabad seat.
The Shiv Sena has managed to extend its network in the area while the NCP has retained control over the local bodies and most assembly constituencies.
The Shiv Sena will also have to deal with a disgruntled Gaikwad — who has said he will convince party chief Uddhav Thackeray to give him the ticket eventually — as well as his supporters. Ranajagitsinh, meanwhile, also has a tough task ahead as he aspires to win the seat which had sent his father to the Lok Sabha 10 years ago.