Chandrapur: Named after the Moon, but famed for ‘black gold’ bounty

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Chandrapur (Maharashtra), April 2 (IANS) Sprawled on the banks of two major and ‘floody’ rivers flowing through the constituency, Chandrapur parliamentary constituency is named after the Moon, but is equally famed for its huge reserves of coal (‘black gold’) and other minerals, and a history of over 25,000 years, dating back to the Stone Age.

From the 1952 Lok Sabha elections onwards, the seat has elected Congress candidates 11 times, (including a by-poll in 1964), the Bharatiya Janata Party four times, a Janata Party nominee and an independent once each to the parliament.

Despite a BJP-wave in 2019, the seat lived up to its reputation as Congress’ late Suresh N. Dhanorkar managed to trounce Hansraj Ahir (BJP), effectively saving the nose of the grand old party as it was the sole seat bagged by Congress out of 48 in the state.

This time, BJP’s state Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar (an ex-state party chief) will lock horns with his chief rival INDIA Bloc Congress’ Pratibha S. Dhanorkar, for the April 19, 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Though he exudes confidence and is hoping to make his maiden entry to the Lok Sabha, the going could be rocky as Chandrapur proved it could flow against the current of the Modi-wave in 2019 and elected the Congress’ Dhanorkar, who passed away in 2023, and a sentimental factor for his widow may also play.

A tough challenge by Ahir notwithstanding, Suresh Dhanorkar managed elbowed through with a margin of over 44,000 votes, but the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) played the proverbial ‘vote-splitters’ cornering over 112,000 and 11,000 votes each.

Over the years, Chandrapur has elected a former royalty, the ex-Gond King Raje Vishveshwar Rao (1977) as Janata Party candidate, besides two Muslims – Mulla Taherali Abdulla (1952) and Abdul Shafee (1971), both as Congress nominees.

The Congress stalwart Shantaram Potdukhe and BJP strongman Hansraj Ahir were both voted 4 times each to Lok Sabha and even served as MoS for various ministries at the Centre.

The Chandrapur Lok Sabha seat is made of six assembly segments of which three are held by BJP, two by Congress and one by an independent.

They include: Ballarpur (BJP, MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar), Wani (BJP, MLA Sanjivreddy B. Bodkurwar), Arni-ST (BJP, MLA Sandip P. Dhurve), besides Warora (Congress, MLA Pratibha S. Dhanorkar), Rajura (Congress, Subhash R. Dhote), plus Chandrapur-SC’s independent MLA Kishor G. Jorgewar.

Over more than 3000 years of its history, Chandrapur, the home of the Gond tribals, passed through several dynasties and rulers, it is rich in minerals like coal and has more than two dozen coal mines, plus a coal-based 3340-MW Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Plant which was inaugurated by late PM Indira Gandhi just three weeks before her assassination.

In addition to the coal mines, Chandrapur has mines for other minerals, cement, paper and ferro-alloy manufacturing industries, it’s considered a ‘geological museum’ for its vast variety of rocks, fossils and minerals, a collection of which can be viewed at the Suresh Chopane Rock Museum here.




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