Nagpur: RSS's political offshoot BJP is all set for the Lok Sabha battle in Nagpur. Former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari will contest against Congress's Vilas Muttemwar and AAP's Anjali Damania.
Nitin Gadkari, however, faces a formidable challenge in the Lok Sabha polls. So far, only in 1996 elections had the BJP managed to win from Nagpur.
The party faces a daunting task as Muslims and Dalits make a sizeable population in the city. Almost 30 per cent of the electorate in the largest city of central India, Nagpur consists of backward classes and minorities.
The Congress has asserted that it will win the Nagpur seat. "I will win here anyhow," says Vilas Muttemwar. He also claims that even if BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi comes to campaign in the city, it won't make any impact for the saffron party. "If Modi comes here to campaign, I will win by a margin of 2 lakh (votes), Nagpur will never vote for him," he said.
Interestingly, the BJP prime ministerial nominee went to Wardha and Yavatmal to address poll campaigns, but he didn't visit Nagpur.
BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, however, downplayed the claims that Modi didn't visit Nagpur as there was a sizeable Muslim population.
Speaking to CNN-IBN, the former BJP chief said, "It is not true, Modi addressed a gathering in Yavatmal because of the rising cases of farmer suicides, his 'chai pe charcha' was arranged at night, so the only time he could have come to Nagpur is at night for which he didn't come."
Although most of the people in the city are in favour of the BJP, however, an apolitical group, 'Vidarbha Connect or VCan' has introduced a new dimension to these polls. It is is exhorting people to exercise the NOTA option.
Voters of Nagpur Lok Sabha constituency will exercise their franchise on April 10.