The Lok Sabha election results saw the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) return to power at the Centre with a brutal majority, erasing the Opposition parties from many parts of the country.
However, amid the 'Modi tsunami', there were still some constituencies which remained untouched, where a few local 'Jacks' became the 'giant slayers' in their own right, fighting huge odds against powerful or well-entrenched leaders from various parties.
In Maharashtra, there are at least five such bravehearts who withstood the saffron wave to emerge as bloodied victors in the electoral battlefield, earning attention and admiration from all quarters.
1. In Amravati -- a rural agrarian constituency reserved for the Scheduled Caste -- glamourous south Indian filmstar Navneet Kaur Rana (33) of the Opposition-backed Yuva Swabhiman Party (YSP) handed a shock defeat to veteran leader and five-time Shiv Sena MP Anandrao V. Adsul.
Known to be close to the BJP bigwigs, her husband is Ravi Rana, an Independent legislator from Badnera in Amravati district and the nephew of yoga guru Ramdev.
Putting up a great show in her maiden election, Rana secured 5,10,947 votes (45.93 per cent) to trounce five-time Shiv Sena strongman Adsul, who managed 4,73,996 votes (42.61 per cent), by a margin of 36,951 votes.
2. In Aurangabad, AIMIM-Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi candidate and journalist-turned-politician Imtiyaz Jaleel Syed (50) stunned four-time Shiv Sena MP Chandrakant B. Khaire in a see-saw contest.
Making his debut in Lok Sabha elections, Jaleel, the sitting AIMIM MLA from Aurangabad central, secured 3,89,042 votes (32.47 per cent) against Khaire's 3,84,550 votes (32.09 per cent) to script victory by a narrow margin of 4,492 votes.
The defeat of Khaire, who's also a two-time legislator and a former state Minister, stunned the political circles as it also gave the AIMIM its first Lok Sabha representative outside its home-state of Telangana.
3. Suresh N. Dhanorkar is credited with saving the Congress' face after he trumped over Union Minister of State Hansraj G. Ahir of the BJP in Chandrapur.
Interestingly, Dhanorkar, a Shiv Sena legislator from Warora, had quit the party on March 20 and in the absence of any other strong candidate, was rewarded with a Congress ticket to lock horns with four-time BJP MP Ahir.
Once externed from various districts of Vidarbha for his dubious criminal records, Dhanorkar secured 5,59,507 votes (45.18 per cent) over Ahir's 5,14,744 votes (41.56 per cent) to win by a margin of 44,763 votes.
4. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) nominee Sunil Tatkare mauled Shiv Sena's Anant Geete, the party's sole Minister in the outgoing NDA government, in the Raigad Lok Sabha constituency.
Tatkare, a former state Minister, secured 4,86,968 votes (47.49 per cent) against Geete's 4,55,530 votes (44.42 percent) to emerge on top by a margin of 31,438 votes.
Ironically, in 2014 Geete had rode the Modi wave to trounce Tatkare. But despite the Modi Tsunami this time, he was swept away by Tatkare, though the Shiv Sena had secured the support of the powerful Antulay family of Raigad.
5. Lastly, there is the popular Marathi filmstar and NCP candidate Amol R. Kolhe, who defeated veteran Shiv Sena leader and sitting MP Shivajirao A. Patil in Shirur.
Kolhe (38) secured 6,35,830 votes (49.17 per cent) over Patil's 5,77,347 votes (44.65 per cent) to beat the three-time Sena MP by a margin of 58,483 votes.
Interestingly, Kolhe was a Shiv Sainik and its former star campaigner for more than five years, but suddenly quit to join the NCP last February and was rewarded with a ticket from the Shirur Lok Sabh constituency.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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