Khandesh Vikas Aghadi (KVA), led by Ramesh Jain, Shiv Sena MLA Suresh Jain's brother, has extended support to the Congress -Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidates in Jalgaon district, which goes to polls on April 24.
This move can change the arithmetic in two Lok Sabha seats in Jalgaon district: Jalgaon and Raver.
In Raver, NCP nominee Manish Jain is pitted against Raksha Khadse, daughter-in-law of BJP leader Eknath Khadse.
Dr Satish Patil of the NCP is pitted against sitting BJP MP A T Nana Patil in Jalgaon. In Raver, sitting BJP MP Haribhau Jawale was denied a ticket and Khadse was nominated.
Khandesh Vikas Aghadi has ruled the Jalgaon Municipal Corporation (JMC) for 20 years. It has got a sizeable presence in various parts of Jalgaon. It can easily dent the prospects of the BJP in these two constituencies.
Ramesh Jain, who is also the leader of House in JMC, told dna on Thursday that the Aghadi has extended support to the Congress-NCP alliance with some expectations.
"The Congress-NCP combine has given an assurance about the development of Jalgaon city by implementing infrastructural projects. We are sure if the alliance comes to power, the promises will be fulfilled.
Our's is an issue- based support," said Jain.
The KVA organised a huge rally in Jalgaon to express its support to the Congress-NCP alliance. The rally was addressed by NCP chief Sharad Pawar, among others.
Ashok Pawar, a political observer, wondered if the KVA's support will yield additional votes to the NCP nominees. "The rank and file of the KVA is not entirely happy with their leaders' decision. People are fed up with the Congress- led UPA government. They want change," he said.
"It's easy to manage and exert influence in local body polls. However, in Lok Sabha, the number of voters are more than 16 lakh in each constituency. How can anyone manage such large number of voters? Voting takes place as per national mood," he said.
Ranjeet Shinde, an NCP youth leader, said: "KVA has influence over 3 lakh voters in Jalgaon district. This is a decisive factor. We are now confident about the victory of both our candidates."