Rain dampens M'rashtra polls

Death toll reaches 25; Solapur and Konkan areas worst hit

Vehicles stuck on a waterlogged road after heavy rains in Mumbai  on Monday. PTI

Rain is wreaking havoc not only on northern Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, but also  south Konkan and southern Maharashtra bordering Karnataka, parts of Marathwada from where the Godavari—a major tributary of the Krishna river — flows, parts of north Maharashtra and Vidarbha. The rivers are flooded, villages marooned, roads submerged in these areas, where the toll has reached 25. Mumbai, too, has  received incessant rain for the past two days.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi was to address rallies at Nanded and Nasik, but the programme has been postponed. Even her Mumbai rally has been rescheduled for Wednesday. A helicopter ferrying BJP general secretary Gopinath Munde could not land due to inclement weather on Sunday and landed at Morwa village after it took off from Chandrapur in Vidarbha. Munde later reached the rally venue by riding a motorcycle of a policeman. BJP president Rajnath Singh’s election meetings at Bodwad and Chalisgaon in the Jalgaon district of north Maharashtra were cancelled on Sunday due to rain. Rajnath addressed the Bodwad rally through a mobile phone.

Election rallies of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar at Kej, Majalgaon, Ashti, Shevgaon and Newasa took place under rains. MNS president Raj Thackeray addressed a rally at Mira-Bhayander in Thane district amid rain which lasted just five minutes. His rally at Vile Parle was cancelled.

Similarly, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray’s meetings at Vile Parle, Bhandup and Dindoshi were cancelled due to heavy rain on Sunday evening.
However, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda braved the heavy showers and undertook a road show between Borivli and Dahisar in the suburbs on Sunday. BSP chief Mayawati also addressed a rally, which drew massive crowd of UP migrants, at Govandi in Mumbai for a BSP candidate.

Meanwhile, with Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on an election tour campaigning for his party in Vidarbha, state Chief Secretary Johney Joseph undertook a survey of the affected areas in Solapur. Joseph said 6,000 houses had collapsed with 25 deaths, including 22 in Solapur district. The total damage has been put at Rs 33 crore. South Konkan was the worst hit and several villages, including Kudal, from where former chief minister Narayan Rane is contesting, was cut off from rest of the state.

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