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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Exit polls favour Modi but Maharashtra could spring a surprise as counting commences

The performances of Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar-led NCP, the two parties that underwent splits, is a major area of concern for Fadnavis, BJP’s troubleshooter, who had earlier been the Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and had stitched together the new alliance by breaking up the two parties.
Last Updated : 04 June 2024, 02:30 IST
Last Updated : 04 June 2024, 02:30 IST

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Mumbai: Counting of votes for the battleground state of Maharashtra commenced on Tuesday morning.

Elections to the 48 seats in Maharashtra (the state has the second-highest number of Parliamentary constituencies following the 80 in Uttar Pradesh) were held in the first five phases of the seven-phased comprehensive election process.

The initial trends are expected between 1000 to 1100 hrs while clarity is expected to emerge post-noon.

Maharashtra is a make-or-break state for the BJP-led Maha Yuti (NDA) and the Congress-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (I.N.D.I.A.).

While exit polls have asserted the return of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister for a third term, in Maharashtra the situation is tough and the fight is not expected to be one-sided.

The Maha Yuti includes BJP, the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and the Ajit Pawar-led NCP while the Maha Vikas Aghadi includes Congress, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and the Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP).

The largest chunk of fights are between the BJP and Congress followed by 13 involving a Shiv Sena vs Shiv Sena (UBT) contest, eight involving a straight BJP and NCP (SP) fight, and five seeing BJP take on Shiv Sena (UBT).

There are some triangular contests as well.

Two seats each involve direct contests between NCP vs NCP (SP), NCP vs Shiv Sena (UBT), and Congress vs Shiv Sena.

One contest is between Shiv Sena (UBT) and Mahadev Jankar-led Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP).

The Congress vs BJP fights are in Nandurbar (ST), Dhule, Nanded, Jalna, Latur (SC), Akola, Amravati (SC), Nagpur, Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST), Bhandara-Gondiya, Chandrapur, Mumbai North, Mumbai North-Central, Pune and Solapur (SC).

The Shiv Sena vs Shiv Sena (UBT) direct fights are in Buldhana, Hingoli, Aurangabad, Nashik, Yavatmal-Washim, Kalyan, Thane, Shirdi (SC), Maval, Hatkanangle, Mumbai South, Mumbai South-Central and Mumbai North-West.

The direct NCP vs NCP (SP) fights are in Baramati and Shirur.

The BJP vs Shiv Sena (UBT) contests are in Palghar (ST), Mumbai North-East, Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Jalgaon and Sangli.

The BJP vs NCP (SP) fights are Madha, Ahmednagar, Beed, Wardha, Bhiwandi, Satara, Raver and Dindori (ST).

The NCP vs Shiv Sena (UBT) contests are in Osmanabad and Raigad, the Congress vs Shiv Sena fights are in two seats of Ramtek (SC) and Kolhapur.

There is one contest in Parbhani involving Shiv Sena (UBT) and RSP, which has been given a ticket from the NCP quota as an MVA candidate.

The top leaders include BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, who is the Deputy Chief Minister and calls the shots for the Maha Yuti alliance, state unit President Chandrashekhar Bawankule, his Mumbai counterpart Ashish Shelar, state Revenue Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, new entrant Ashok Chavan, and Pankaja Munde.

For Congress, its a challenge for state Congress President Nana Patole, Congress Legislature Party leader Balasaheb Thorat and Prithviraj Chavan, Naseem Khan, and Professor Varsha Gaikwad who are the key strategists.

However, the performances of the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar-led NCP, the two parties that underwent splits, is a major area of concern for Fadnavis, BJP’s troubleshooter, who had earlier been the Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and had stitched together the new alliance by breaking up two parties.

In June-July 2022, Shinde rebelled against Uddhav Thackeray and became the Chief Minister of the Maha Yuti government while Ajit Pawar, staging a revolt against his mentor Sharad Pawar, joined a year later in June-July 2023 as the Deputy Chief Minister.

While Thackeray now heads the Shiv Sena (UBT), Sharad Pawar leads NCP (SP).

The elections would have a direct bearing on the fate of Thackeray, his son and Worli MLA Aaditya Thackeray, and their close aides Sanjay Raut, Anil Desai and Anil Parab.

On the other hand, besides Sharad Pawar, his daughter Supriya Sule, who is Baramati MP, and leaders like Jayant Patil and Jitendra Awhad have a lot at stake. From the Pawar family bastion of Baramati, Ajit Pawar pitted his wife Sunetra Pawar against Supriya Sule, the three-time MP from there.

As far as Maha Yuti is concerned, the BJP has contested the lion’s share of 28 seats, followed by Shinde’s Shiv Sena which contested 15 seats, and Ajit Pawar's NCP constested four seats leaving one for Rashtriya Samaj Paksha founder Mahadev Jankar.

Within the MVA, Thackeray's party contested 21 seats followed by Congress which contested 21 and NCP (SP) which fought for 10.

Shinde's core team includes his son and Kalyan MP Dr Shrikant Shinde, Uday Samant, Deepak Kesarkar, Sandipan Bhumare, Sanjay Shirsat, Naresh Mhaske among others.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Will it be Narendra Modi's 'Viksit Bharat' or Rahul Gandhi's I.N.D.I.A.? As the world's largest democracy votes to choose its future, track live news, in-depth opinions, and analyses only on Deccan Herald.

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Published 04 June 2024, 02:30 IST

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