The orange city and Maharashtra's second capital, Nagpur, is set to witness a big fight in the coming Lok Sabha elections. The Aam Aadmi Party is likely to field anti-corruption crusader-turned-party leader Anjali Damania against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s former president, Nitin Gadkari, in the Nagpur parliamentary constituency. AAP's executive committee of Maharashtra has already asked Damania to be ready for her nomination there.
“The state executive last week discussed the matter and asked Damania to be prepared for her candidature from Nagpur,” AAP leader Mayank Gandhi told Business Standard.
When contacted, Gadkari declined to comment.
Interestingly, for both Gadkari and Damania, it would be their debut in electoral politics as none has so far contested either assembly or Lok Sabha elections.
Gadkari has been elected to the Maharashtra legislative council from the graduates constituency since 1989. Gadkari has already indicated that he is quite keen to contest from the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat which is currently represented by the Congress’s Vilas Muttemwar. Gadkari has already initiated a slew of projects in Nagpur constituency and has also launched the voters’ contact programme.
On the other hand, Damania was one of the two whistleblowers who dug out the multi-crore irrigation scam after her farmland, that was with her for more than a decade, was taken over for an irrigation project in Raigad district. Further, Damania had accused Gadkari of going soft on the Nationalist Congress Party because of his alleged business relationship with NCP chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar. However, Gadkari had denied any link between him and Pawar.
AAP is quite keen to repeat party chief Arvind Kejriwal's sterling victory against Delhi's former chief minister Sheila Dikshit by pitting Damania against Gadkari in the proposed high-profile contest. As reported by Business Standard last week, AAP is mulling contesting all 48 Lok Sabha seats and 288 assembly seats in Maharashtra in the ensuing elections slated for 2014.