Preparations underway at a polling booth in Maharashtra for state assembly elections on Monday.
Preparations underway at a polling booth in Maharashtra for state assembly elections on Monday.

Battleground Maharashtra: BJP-Shiv Sena seek second term, Congress-NCP hopes to make comeback

ANI | Updated: Oct 21, 2019 06:44 IST

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Oct 21 (ANI): Fate of 3,237 candidates will be sealed in EVMs on Monday as voters in Maharashtra will exercise their electoral rights to elect state assembly representatives in 288 constituencies for the formation of next state government.
The state is witnessing intense contest between two coalitions- 'Mahayuti' of BJP-Shiv Sena and 'Maha-agadhi' led by the Congress and the NCP.
After completing five years at Chief Minister's Office, Devendra Fadnavis is in the electoral battle asking for a second term while opposition is cornering him on the issues of unemployment, agrarian distress and drought.
In the 288-member Assembly, BJP is contesting 164 seats, which includes candidates of smaller allies contesting on its lotus symbol, while its ally Shiv Sena has fielded 126 candidates.
On the other hand, Congress has its candidates in 147 constituencies and NCP will contest 121 seats.
Among other parties, Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has fielded 101 candidates while CPI and CPM have fielded 16 and 8 candidates respectively. Mayawati's BSP has pitted candidates in 262 constituencies.
CM Fadnavis is seeking re-election from Nagpur South-West seat and will face Congress' Ashish Deshmukh.
Congress leader and former Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chavan is pitted against BJP's Atulbaba Bhosale in Karad South.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's son Aaditya Thackeray, who is the first member of the Thackeray family to contest, is making his electoral debut from Worli Assembly seat in Mumbai.
NCP's strongman and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar is contesting from his family bastion of Baramati where BJP's Gopichand Padalkar will challenge him.
Leader of Opposition in Assembly, Vijay Namdeorao Wadettiwar is contesting from Brahmapuri seat and is pitted against Sandeep Wamanrao Gaddamwar of Shiv Sena and Aam Aadmi Party's Paromita Prangopal Goswami.
Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Bachhu Patil is seeking his election from Kothrud while party's Mumbai president Mangal Prabhat Lodha is pitted against Congress' Hira Navaji Devas in Malabar Hill. Sharad Pawar's grand-nephew Rohit Pawar is making his electoral debut from Karjat-Jamkhed seat where he will face competition from BJP's Ram Shankar Shinde.
The ruling coalition of BJP and Shiv Sena contested 2014 Assembly elections alone but as voters gave a split verdict both parties came together to form the government.
Since BJP got more numbers, Devendra Fadnavis, was given the chance to lead the government as the Chief Minister.
Both alliance partners remained on loggerheads over several issues throughout the five year term. There were continuous statements from Shiv Sena against BJP and it also raised questions over policies of the NDA government. However, ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, after a series of discussions, Shiv Sena decided to contest election in alliance with BJP.
Defections in Maharashtra gained momentum after BJP and Shiv Sena swept Lok Sabha polls winning 23 and 18 seats respectively out of 48 constituencies in the state.
Ahead of the Assembly polls, at least two dozen leaders switched sides including Leader of opposition in the legislative assembly.
A number of Congress and NCP leaders also joined either the BJP or Shiv Sena. Udayanraje Bhosale, Shivendraraje Bhosale, Jaidutt Kshirsagar, Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, his son Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil, Dilip Sopal, Padmasinh Patil and his son Rana Jagjitsinh, Dhananjay Mahadik left the NCP to join either BJP or Shiv Sena.
The Opposition alleged that ruling government poached these leaders by threatening them to implicate into false cases.
As agriculture contributes about 12 per cent to Maharashtra's growth, farmers' suicides, agrarian distress and drought were one of key issues in the state, especially in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. The opposition has time and again targeted the government that huge debts led farmers to commit suicides.
However, Faddnavis government announced farm-loan waiver and various schemes for water conservation and irrigation. Among other issues are Aarest forests, condition of roads and PMC bank issue.
The elections are significant as it is the first assembly polls after Modi steered the BJP-led NDA to a resounding victory in the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year for a successive second term at the Centre.
It is also the first assembly polls after the BJP-led government's decision to repeal Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. (ANI)