Battle lines have been drawn for the prestigious Nagpur Lok Sabha constituency ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, where incumbent Congress MP Vilas Muttemwar is pitted against BJP stalwart and poll debutant Nitin Gadkari.
A seven-time sitting MP, Muttemwar, who has been retained by the Congress, will be facing a tough challenge this time from the former national BJP chief, who is going the whole hog to win the LS polls from his hometown in his maiden attempt. A known Congress citadel, Nagpur has witnessed only one Congress defeat when it lost to BJP in 1994.
Muttemwar first got elected from Chimur in 1980 and subsequently in 1985, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009. While, sitting MLC Gadkari was a PWD minister in the erstwhile Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra in 1995-99. Later he became the Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council and went on to don the post of State BJP chief. He was elevated to national politics when the became the BJP National president.
Gadkari is credited with construction of flyovers in various parts of Maharashtra besides the Mumbai-Pune Express Highway. Blowing the poll bigul, the BJP was the first to declared its candidates for the Nagpur seat, followed by newcomer AAP and Congress, which released its first list of candidates last week.
However, Dalit outfits including the BSP and various sections of RPI are yet to announce the candidates for the polls scheduled in Nagpur on April 10. Interestingly, activist-turned politician Anjali Damania too is making her foray into electoral politics with the ensuing general elections.