Maharashtra Assembly Elections 2019: Top contests
Mumbai, Oct 20: The stage is finally set for the Maharashtra Assembly elections amidst tight security, here on Monday. Nearly 8.9 crore voters will cast their votes for electing their representatives for 288 seats of the state Assembly out of which 53 are reserved seats. Out of these voters, more than 4.5 crores are men and around 4 crores are women.
Altogether 3,237 candidates including 235 women are contesting in the elections. Voting will be held in 96,661 Polling Stations set up by the Election Commission of India across the state. The Nanded South seat in Marathwada region has the most number of candidates (38) in the fray.
Congress candidate and former BJP leader Ashish Deshmukh faces an uphill task of taking on Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis from Nagpur South-West Assembly constituency.
Fadnavis, face of the BJP's campaign for the October 21 state elections, held only two rallies on his home turf, indicating his confidence of victory. Deshmukh, however, feels that discontent among the youths about lack of jobs coupled with Fadnavis's absence from the constituency will cost him dear.
Former Chief Minister Prithviraj Daijisaheb Chavan, standing from Karad South, challenged by the BJP Atulbaba Suresh Bhosale, and 11 others including seven independents.
The BJP is trying to breach the Congress' citadel Karad (South) by highlighting development works of the government Fadnavis government.
While the BJP seems determined to give a tough fight to Chavan this time, the entry of an Independent candidate, whose father won multiple times from the seat as a Congress nominee, has made it appear like a three-corner contest.
While 73-year-old Chavan, a former Union minister, is confident of retaining the seat with a comfortable win, the BJP is pinning its hopes on Atul Bhosale (36), the president of Pandharpur's Vitthal Rakhumai Temple Committee, who contested the 2014 polls from the seat but stood third.
Besides, Udaysinh Undalkar-Patil, son of Vilasrao Undalkar-Patil, who was seven-time MLA from the seat till he was denied ticket by the Congress in 2014 to pave way for Chavan, is contesting an Independent.
Aaditya Thackeray, the son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is making debut. The 29-year-old is the first from the Thackeray family to make debut in electoral politics. He is contesting from the party stronghold of Worli constituency in Central Mumbai.
Congress leader Ashok Chavan, the son former CM Shankarrao Chavan, is trying his luck from the Bhokar seat in Nanded whereas Praniti Shinde, the daughter of former CM Sushilkumar Shinde, is contesting from the Solapur Central constituency.
Nitesh Rane, the son of former CM Narayan Rane is contesting the BJP, from Kankavali in Sindhudurg district.
Senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse, whose daughter-in-law Raksha is an MP, has got a ticket for his daughter Rohini from Muktainagar.
Gopinath Munde's daughter is contesting against Pankaja and cousin Dhananjay, who is a NCP candidate, from Parli. NCP chief Sharad Pawar's cousin Ajit and grandson Rohit are contesting from Baramati and Karjat.
The BJP is contesting 164 seats, which include candidates of smaller allies contesting on its lotus symbol, while Sena has fielded candidates on 126 seats. On the other hand, the Congress has fielded 147 candidates and the ally NCP 121.
Among other parties, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), led by Raj Thackeray, has fielded 101 candidates, the CPI 16, the CPM 8. The BSP has fielded candidates in 262 constituencies. A total of 1400 Independents are also in the poll arena.
The campaign is marked by personal attacks and sharp exchange of barbs between the chief minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
OneIndia News (with PTI inputs)