Ex-actress Navneet Kaur-Rana radiates charming confidence in Amravati LS seat, now for BJP


by IANS | Sat, Apr 20, 2024, 03:17 PM

Amravati (Maharashtra), April 20 (IANS) The green but hot and dry Amravati (SC) constituency is among the few in Maharashtra that has elected women to the Lok Sabha four times since 1952, including a future President Pratibha Patil (1991), the first woman to hold the top post in the country.

A seat that is being closely monitored, it was a traditional Congress stronghold which elected the party’s candidates 10 times, plus in one by-election, while the (undivided) Shiv Sena nominees were elected 5 times, besides the RPI, CPI and an independent once each, with the Bharatiya Janata Party feeling left out so far.

This time, the BJP is hoping Dame Luck may smile on the party -- through its comely candidate, NDA-MahaYuti-BJP’s Navneet Kaur-Rana, an actress-turned-politician who is set to capture the attention of the voters once again. With her background in entertainment and now in politics, she might bring a unique appeal to the electorate. It’s not uncommon for candidates with a background in the arts to leverage their charisma and public image to connect with voters. At the same time, it will be interesting to see how her campaign unfolds and whether her charm resonates with the electorate for the second time.

After all, in 2019, Rana overcame the BJP’s ‘second coming’ to get elected as the sole independent MP in the state, of course, with the support of the (undivided) Nationalist Congress Party and other parties, to trounce the (undivided) Shiv Sena strongman Anandrao V. Adsul, a former Union minister, now with CM Eknath Shinde’s party.

Campaigning aggressively, this time Rana has locked horns with her chief rival MVA-INDIA Bloc-Congress’ MLA Balwant B. Wankhade, while the third contender is Republican Sena’s Anandraj Y. Ambedkar supported by his brother and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief Prakash Y. Ambedkar, for the April 26 Lok Sabha polls.

Moreover, there seems to be internal challenges from within Rana's own party or coalition that could pose a threat to her electoral prospects. Rana will need to navigate these internal challenges effectively to maintain her momentum and focus on her campaign goals.

A ruling MahaYuti ally, the Prahar Janshakti Party (PHP) founder Omprakash Babarao Kadu, alias Bachhu Kadu, has publicly vowed to “defeat” Rana at any cost and fielded its local heavyweight Dinesh G. Boob who has launched a blistering attack on his rival.

Rana’s campaign got off to a ‘crying start’ with the actress recounting her political struggles and hardships for the past 12 years since she entered electoral politics, how she was targeted in different ways by opponents and appealed for support to strengthen the hands of PM Narendra Modi in the LS 2024 elections.

Canvassing for her, the PM, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis and other top leaders have fervently appealed to the voters "to elect Rana with the highest margin in the state and create history for the Amravati (SC) seat".

The 2024 elections are critical even for the Congress which elected its last candidate Pratibha Patil (1991-1996) here, after which the party has been relegated to the secondary position in all Lok Sabha polls for the past 28 years.

The Amravati (SC) constituency comprises six assembly segments of which three are held by Congress, two by PJP and one by BJP.

They are: Badnera (BJP, MLA Ravi Rana who is the sitting MP Navneet Kaur’s husband), Achalpur (PJP, MLA Bachhu Kadu), Melghat-ST (PJP, MLA Rajkumar Patel), and the rest of the Congress - Daryapur-SC (MLA Balwant B. Wankhade, now LS contestant), Amravati (MLA Sulbha Khodke), and Teosa (ex-minister and MLA Yashomati Thakur).

Nearly 18 big and small rivers criss-cross through the lush constituency, irrigating the largely agricultural economy, besides boasting of some good hill stations, the famed Melghat Tiger Reserve with many striped big cats prowling around and other wildlife sanctuaries plus multi-religious places of worship dotting the region.

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