Amrish Patel, the Congress nominee for Dhule Lok Sabha constituency, is a pioneer of the famous Shirpur Pattern of development. He introduced rain water conservation schemes and construction of small concrete dams in Shirpur Taluka when it was facing acute water shortage. The 66-year-old leader is trying his luck for the second time in the Lok Sabha polls – he had lost to BJP's Pratap Sonawane by a margin of nearly 20,000 votes in 2009 polls.
Hit by consecutive droughts, the state government has adopted the Shirpur Pattern and plans to replicate it across the state to increase the groundwater level. Talking to dna correspondent Sudhir Suryawanshi in Dhule, Patel shared his vision for the district.
What are your priorities in Dhule constituency?
My emphasis will be mainly on augmenting water supply, setting up quality educational institutions, hospitals, and job creation. For complicated and rare medical procedures, people from this area have to go to Pune or Mumbai, which are very costly cities. I wish to implement the Shirpur Pattern in this constituency.
Development in Dhule has come to a halt for past several years due to weak leadership and bad governance. I would work hard to change this image. Besides, I will follow up for implementation of the proposed Manmad-Dhule-Indore railway line. Once completed, it will reduce traffic on the national highway and give our farmers easy access to the Madhya Pradesh market.
I also want to contribute for the Rs25000-crore Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor which will pass through Dhule district as it will attract industries and create jobs for locals.
Q: The Congress has been ruling both at the centre and state for the past 10 year, but still rural and urban areas see power cut of 10 hours and 6 hours respectively? What are you going to do about it?
It is true that we are in power at both levels. However, local development depends on local leadership. If people will give me mandate this time, I will surely do something on that front.
Q: You are contesting Lok Sabha polls for the second time. In 2009, you lost mainly due to internal politics and Maratha issue. Are you facing the same problem this time as well?
Patel: Not at all. The situation is favourable to me. Maratha leaders, including our Congress-NCP leaders have told me that they had made a mistake in the past and it won't happen this time. People are fed up with caste politics. They want only development. I have a good chance on this front because of my past records.
Q: How do you see and rate your opponent Dr Subhas Bhambre of Shiv Sena?
I have immense respect for Dr Bhambre but he has zero administrative experience. Besides, he has not done any concrete social work that people will remember. Dr Bhambare was a commercial medical practitioner. On the contrary, I have over 25 years of administrative experience.
Q: Is there any Modi effect and AAP impact here?
Patel: Modi effect is very negligible. People do talk about Modi, but they know that he has only created a hype.
Moreover, AAP is a group of activists, who were fed up with social work and wanted to join politics for a change. AAP was a temporary phenomena. After some days, people will forget it totally.