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His quiet style of campaigning is in stark contrast to the flamboyance of the party he represents. But Suresh Prabhu, former Union minister and three time Shiv Sena Member of Parliament from the constituency of Rajapur, Maharashtra, seems to know exactly what he is doing. Which is why he does not fight shy of tough questions from drought stricken villagers like "If people die, who is going to vote for you?" at the small, personal meetings he prefers to hold with his constituents as part of his campaign strategy.

Contrast his few large rallies -- addressed on different days by Sena stars Udhav Thackeray, Manohar Joshi and Raj Thackeray respectively -- and their strength of approximately 4,000 listeners each with the huge numbers drawn by other national level leaders. Former Maharashtra chief minister Narayan Rane, whose assembly seat Kankavli falls in Rajapur, held a separate series of meetings to canvass votes for Prabhu.

Prabhu himself made time to campaign for the Sena in other parts of the state. Rajapur will vote on April 26.

Has their hat-trick (1996, 1998, 1999) made the Sena and its candidate complacent?

Reportage: Savera R Someshwar | Photographs: Jewella C Miranda | Design: Rahil Shaikh

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