After the political turmoil that resulted in the break-up of over two decade old BJP-Shiv Sena alliance and 15-year-old NCP-Congress alliance last month, polling has finally begun in Maharashtra early on Wednesday morning with the four major parties contesting solo for the 2014 assembly elections.
For the 288 assembly seats, 4,119 candidates are contesting, of which over 1,127 are from the four major parties, 1,699 independents and rest from other parties, including MNS and CPI (M).
Targeting to win maximum number of seats, the Congress has decided to go solo with maximum number of candidates—287—trying its luck to win the Maharashtra polls, after ruling the state for the last 15 years in alliance with NCP.
While Shiv Sena has seconded the race by putting up maximum candidates—282, the BJP has 280 candidates, NCP has 282 and MNS has 219 in the field, according to The Indian Express report.
Despite the Congress' efforts to regain its supremacy lost in the 2014 General elections, it is again believed to lose against BJP, which will grab most of the seats in Maharashtra reducing its political rival to minorities.
The bookies from Mumbai had predicted that BJP will win around 110-115 seats and if the Modi wave gains back its momentum and convince the voters after running 27 campaign rallies, the BJP will lead ahead of all with more than 145 seats alone.
If the bookies are to be believed, there are apparent chances that the BJP may repeat its May victory as Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave in all his efforts to the campaign rallies to ensure victory.
He very articulately sang praises of the BJP governemnt in Delhi, which he claimed has indulged itself into the welfare of Indian citizens and development of states and has been giving fruitful results since the party came to power and promised to continue to do so in the near future.
Along with pointing out their successful attempts, he left no moment to criticise and condemn his political rival Congress and NCP during rallies and blamed them for the poor situation in several districts and farmer suicide, and accused them of looting the poor of the state.
However, the final outcome of Wednesday's one of the major political battles will only be clear on 19 October, when the votes will be counted and the results are announced.
Who's standing against whom?
- The last Congress ruler of the state, former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, is facing tough competition from independent candidate Vilas Patil Undalkar, BJP's Atul Bhosale and Shiv Sena's Ajeenkya Patil in his home constituency, South Karad, Hindustan Times reported.
- NCP leader and former home minister RR Patil is contesting against BJP's Ajit Ghorpade, believed to be a tough contender, in Patil's constituency Tasgaon.
- BJP senior leader Gopinath Munde's daughter Pankaja is contesting her own cousin Dhananjay, from NCP, to win back her home constituency Parli.
- BJP senior leader Vinod Tawde is reportedly facing tough challenge from all four corners, as Shiv Sena's strong contender Uttam Agarwal is fighting against him in Borivali constituency, where MNS, Congress and NCP have also fielded their candidates.
- At last, the tough contest is believed to be seen in Konkan district's Kudal constituency, where former industries minister Narayan Rane is standing upfront with youth leader Vaibhav Naik of Shiv Sena, which won 22,000 seats from this constituency in Lok Sabha elections. BJP and NCP have also fielded their candidates making the contest even tougher.