Mumbai: The campaign for seven Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra which will go to the polls on April 11 ended on Tuesday evening. Polling will be held for Nagpur, Chandrapur, Wardha, Bhandara-Gondia, Yavatmal-Washim, Gadchiroli-Chimur and Ramtek seats in Vidarbha on April 11. Candidates and campaigners braved scorching heat of summer in Eastern Maharashtra as they held rallies and roadshows.
On the last day, BJP chief Amit Shah addressed a public meeting in Nagpur, where senior BJP leader and Union minister Nitin Gadkari is locked in a battle with Congress’ Nana Patole, a former BJP MP. In Chandrapur, another Union minister, Hansaraj Ahir of the BJP, is seeking a fourth term. The Congress has fielded Suresh Dhanorkar against him. BJP’s Ramdas Tadas is seeking re-election from Wardha, facing Congress’ Charulata Tokas.
The Yavatmal-Washim constituency is witnessing a contest between Shiv Sena’s sitting MP Bhavana Gawali and Congress’ Manikrao Thakare. Sena’s Krupal Tumane is seeking a second term from Ramtek where he is pitted against Congress’ Kishor Gajbhiye. In Bhandara-Gondia, BJP’s Sunil Mendhe faces NCP’s Nana Panchbuddhe.
As in 2014, the Gadchiroli-Chimur constituency will see a contest between sitting MP and BJP candidate Ashok Nete and his Congress rival Namdeo Usendi. A total of 116 candidates are in the fray in these seven seats in Vidarbha region, once a Congress bastion. Riding on the Narendra Modi wave last time, the BJP and Shiv Sena had swept all seven seats.
Patole had contested on BJP ticket from Bhandara-Gondia then, defeating senior NCP leader Praful Patel. Patole, however, returned to the Congress in December 2017. Polling will be held in Maharashtra in three more phases: April 18, April 23 and April 29.