PUNE: Trying to change the image of a reclusive opposition and its fortunes in the State, the State Congress has organised the Jan Sangharsh Yatra, an ambitious protest rally throughout the western districts of the Maharashtra. Harshawardhan Patil, the former cooperatives minister and one of the stronger contenders of Congress in the region, is gearing up for a show of strength with the Yatra as it reaches Indapur.
The Congressman shares a long drawn rivalry with Datta Bharne of the Nationalist Congress Party. While Patil defeated Bharne to become MLA and minister in the 2009 elections, Bharne inflicted an insulting defeat on Patil in 2014 elections. In this context, the Yatra, which will reach Indapur on Wednesday, is being seen as a platform for Patil to show his strength.
The Indapur taluka is one of the prosperous talukas in the western region of the State. The NCP-Congress rivalry has been the talk of the town in each major election over the last couple of decades. MLA Bharne too had conducted a huge farmers’ fair in the month of April this year in the presence of Ajit Pawar, which was seen as his show of strength.
The Congress party in the taluka has made large-scale preparations to make the yatra a success. Around 5,000 two-wheelers, 1,000 to 2,000 four-wheelers will participate in the yatr. The yatra will also see former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan address the people and this will only help Patil in securing his victory in the seat, where it seems that Patil will surely be the Congress candidate.