The Congress has replaced the party candidate for the Chandrapur Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra within 24 hours of nominating him after an audio tape in which state Congress president Ashok Chavan is heard expressing displeasure over the selection of candidate, went viral.
The party has replaced Vinayak Bangde, who was nominated on Saturday, nominating in his place Suresh alias Balu Dhanorkar.
And just a day before the last date for filing nomination, the party also announced its Ramtek nominee too, putting an end to intense speculation.The NCP, however hasn’t declared any names for its Bhandara-Gondia nominee till late Sunday. Follow more election news here.
An audio tape had gone viral on Saturday where a man identifying himself as a party worker was heard pleading with Chavan for reversing the decision to nominate Bangde and replacing him with Dhanorkar, who the worker said was a sure winner against BJP’s Hansraj Ahir. Chavan was heard saying that nobody listens to him and that he (the caller) should instead contact party national general secretary Mukul Wasnik. Chavan hasn’t denied that he wasn’t part of the discussion on the audio tape.
The Congress changed its mind twice on the Chandrapur constituency before nominating Dhanorkar. It had first selected Vishal Muttemwar, son of former Union minister Vilas Muttemwar, but before his name could be officially announced, he had to withdraw following opposition from the local leadership. On Saturday, Bangde was nominated, whose name was also eventually withdrawn. Dhanorkar had already started preparing for the contest as an Independent.
A senior party leader said on condition of anonymity, “Dhanorkar is also a beneficiary of intra-party rivalry within the BJP, with one group not wanting Ahir to win. Dhanorkar was seen as a tough candidate against Ahir as he belongs to Kunbi, sub-caste Dhanoje, which has over three lakh voters. But removal of Bangde from the contest will antagonise the Teli community to which he belongs. So, it isn’t as easy as the party thinks for Dhanorkar.”