Mumbai: Altogether 249 candidates are in the fray in 14 constituencies in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra where voting will be held on Tuesday. State BJP president Raosaheb Danve (Jalna) and NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule (Baramati) are among the prominent candidates in fray.
Polling will be held in Jalgaon, Raver (north Maharashtra), Jalna, Aurangabad (Marathwada), Raigad, Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg (Konkan), Pune, Baramati, Madha, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Hathkanangale (western Maharashtra) and Ahmednagar seats. The candidates include 19 women.
Altogether 2,57,89,738 voters, including 1,33,19,010 men, 1,24,70,076 women and 652 members of the third gender, are eligible to exercise their franchise in the third phase, an election official said on Monday. Pune and Madha seats have maximum 31 candidates each, followed by Aurangabad-23, Jalna-20, Ahmednagar-19, Baramati-18, Hatkanangale-17, Raigad-16, Kolhapur-15, Jalgaon-14, Raver, Sangli and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg-12 each and Satara-nine. There are four women candidates in Baramati, including Sule.
Total 28,691 polling booths have been set up and the EC has decided to hold live web-casting on 10 per cent of them in the third phase of voting, the official said. He said 56,025 ballot units, 35,562 control units and 37,524 VVPAT machines will be used in the third phase. In Pune, the BJP has replaced its sitting MP Anil Shirole with state minister Girish Bapat, who is pitted against Mohan Joshi of the Congress.
In Raigad, Shiv Sena leader and Union minister Anant Geete is locked in a battle with NCP’s Sunil Tatkare. In Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, former chief minister Narayan Rane’s son Nilesh Rane is contesting as a nominee of the Maharashtra Swambhimani Paksh, founded by his father, against sitting Sena MP Vinayak Raut.
In Satara, NCP’s sitting MP Udayanraje Bhosale is pitted against Sena’s Narendra Patil. Another keenly watched contest will be in Ahmednagar where Sujay Vikhe Patil, the son of Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil of the Congress is the BJP nominee. Sujay Vikhe Patil joined the BJP in the run-up to the polls, after the NCP refused to vacate the Ahmednagar seat for the Congress. He is now pitted against NCP’s Sangram Jagtap.
MP Raju Shetti of the Swabhimani Paksha, an ally of the Congress-NCP, is seeking a re-electionfrom Hatkanangale. In the 2014 elections, the BJP bagged six of these seats and Shetti, who was then an ally of the saffron party, won from Hatkanangale.
The NCP bagged four seats while the Sena won three. The hectic campaign for the third phase saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis addressing several public meetings in support of the BJP nominees. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, whose party has a pre-poll pact with the BJP in the state, campaigned in various constituencies, including Hatkanangle and Aurangabad.
Pawar campaigned for his party candidates in Satara, Sangli, Madha and Kolhapur, while state Congress chief Ashok Chavan also canvassed for his party candidates in some seats. The Congress and NCP have entered into a seat-sharing pact in the state for the Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress is contesting Raver, Jalna, Aurangabad, Pune and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg seats while the NCP candidates are in the fray in Jalgaon, Raigad, Madha, Ahmednagar, Satara and Kolhapur. The BJP has replaced its sitting MPs in Jalgaon and Ahmednagar.
Lok Sabha elections to 48 seats in the state are being held in four phases. Polling for the first two phases was held on April 11 (seven seats) and April 18 (10 seats). The remaining 17 constituencies will go to polls in the last phase in the state on April 29.