Fierce battle of votes add spark between two coalitions

Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi are addressing a series of rallies for the four-phased elections in Maharashtra commencing 11 April when seven seats of Vidarbha including Nagpur and Naxalite-infested Gadchiroli district would go to polls. PTI photos

Two diametrically opposite coalitions -- the BJP-Shiv Sena led five-party alliance and Congress-NCP led 56-party formation -- are engaged in eyeball-to-eyeball political combat in Maharashtra.

MahaYuti and MahaAghadi, as the two large coalitions, respectively, are popularly called, are leaving no stones unturned to reach out to the voters.

Maharashtra sends 48 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha next only to Uttar Pradesh's 80.

Though the contest is largely direct between the two alliances, there are triangular contests in some places.

The presence of the coalition in all seats led by Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, and the combine of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi can upset the balance.

Prime minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi are addressing a series of rallies for the four-phased elections in Maharashtra commencing 11 April when seven seats of Vidarbha including Nagpur and Naxalite-infested Gadchiroli district would go to polls.

In Nagpur, BJP's stalwart and shipping & transport minister Nitin Gadkari is taking on Nana Patole of the Congress, who was the first to resign as BJP MP after raising a banner of revolt against Modi.

The four-phase elections will decide the fate of several political bigwigs including two former Congress chief ministers - Ashok Chavan (Nanded) and Sushilkumar Shinde (Solapur), four union ministers - shipping minister Nitin Gadkari, minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir (Chandrapur) and minister of state for defence Dr Subhash Bhamre (Dhule) - all from BJP, and union heavy industries minister Anant Geete (Raigad) of Shiv Sena.

Veteran Dalit leader and VBA founder Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, is contesting two seats - Solapur and Akola.

Several GenNext leaders like Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil of BJP (Ahmenagar), who is the son of Maharashtra's opposition leader and senior Congressman Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and Parth Pawar (Maval), the grandnephew of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar are in the fray.

In Mumbai North, actress Urmila Matondkar added spice to the polls, after Congress fielded her. Similarly, NCP, in Shirur, fielded Marathi actor Dr Amol Khole, who in TV serials had played the role of legendary Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Chhatrapati Sambaji Maharaj.

In Hatkanangale, farmers leader Raju Shetti, the founder of Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana is contesting.

In Satara, sitting NCP MP Udyanraje Bhosale, the 13th descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, is trying his luck again.

 

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MAHARASHTRA

Total seats: 48

2014 Lok Sabha Results

BJP - 23
Shiv Sena - 18
NCP - 5
Congress - 2
Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana -1
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In the 2018 bye-elections, the BJP lost one seat that was won by NCP.

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2014 turn out: 62 % (approx)
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2014 vote share:
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BJP - 27.8 %
Sena - 16.26 %
Congress - 18.1%
NCP - 16 %

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ISSUES:
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Agrarian crisis
Farmers' suicide
Severe drought
Irrigation in rural areas
Infrastructure development
Demonetisation & GST
Increase in street crime in urban areas

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KEY CONSTITUENCIES:
Nagpur: Nitin Gadkari (BJP) vs Nana Patole (Congress)
Solapur: Sushilkumar Shinde (Congress) vs Dr Jaisiddheshwar Swami (BJP) vs Prakash Ambedkar (VBA)
Nanded: Ashok Chavan (Congress) vs Pratap Chikallikar (BJP)
Aurangabad: Chandrakant Khaire (Shiv Sena) vs Subhash Zambad (Congress) vs Imtiaz Jaleel (AIMIM)
Pune: Girish Bapat (BJP) vs Mohan Joshi (Congress)
Ahmednagar: Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil (BJP) vs Sangram Jagtap (NCP)
Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg: Nilesh Rane (MSP) vs Navinchandra Bandivadekar (Congress) vs Vinayak Raut (Shiv Sena)
Mumbai North: Gopal Shetty (BJP) vs Urmila Matondkar (Congress)
Maval: Parth Pawar (NCP) vs Srirang Barne (Shiv Sena)
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Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


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