LokSabha 2019: Campaigning for fourth phase ends in Maharashtra

PTI
Saturday, 27 April 2019

A total of 3.11 crore voters spread over Mumbai metropolitan region and parts of northern and western Maharashtra, are eligible to exercise their franchise, which would decide fate of 323 candidates in the fray.

MUMBAI: Campaigning for the fourth and final phase of elections for 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra, including the Mumbai region, ended on Saturday.

During the canvassing, which mainly remained centred around issues like nationalism and agricultural distress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to woo the rural as well as cosmopolitan voters by highlighting infrastructural and developmental work done under his rule.

For his part, Congress president Rahul Gandhi tried to project the Congress' proposed minimum guarantee scheme or "NYAY" as a game changer for the poor.

A total of 3.11 crore voters spread over Mumbai metropolitan region and parts of northern and western Maharashtra, are eligible to exercise their franchise, which would decide fate of 323 candidates in the fray.

Voting will take place on April 29 between 7 am and 6 pm.

Prominent candidates in the fray are Union minister Subhash Bhamre (Dhule) of BJP, Urmila Matondkar (Mumbai North), Priya Dutt (Mumbai North Central) and Milind Deora (Mumbai South) of the Congress, and NCP chief Sharad Pawar's grandnephew Parth Pawar, who is fighting his maiden contest from Maval seat.

The constituencies up for grabs include Nandurbar, Dhule, Dindori, Nashik in North Maharashtra, Palghar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thane, Mumbai North, Mumbai North West, Mumbai North Central, Mumbai North East, Mumbai South and Mumbai South Central in the Mumbai region, Maval and Shirur in Pune district, and Shirdi in Ahmednagar district.

A total of 33,314 polling stations are set up across these constituencies.

Out of 3,11,92,823 eligible voters, 1,66,31,707 are men and 1,45,59,698 women. The number of third gender voters is 1418.

In 2014 general elections, the BJP had won eight seats and its alliance partner Shiv Sena nine seats out of the total 17 seats that will vote in the fourth phase Monday.

The BJP later improved its tally by winning the bypoll to Palghar constituency in 2018. The new MP Rajendra Gavit is contesting on Shiv Sena ticket this time.

Opposition Congress is facing a tough task of reclaiming its lost base in North Maharashtra and Mumbai, while the NCP is trying to get a foothold in Thane district and Western Maharashtra, which used to be its stronghold before 2014 polls.

During the campaigning, the prime minister had addressed rallies in Nandurbar, Dindori and Mumbai while Gandhi canvassed in Shirdi.

Interesting contests on the cards are between actor-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar in Mumbai North. She faces a tough task to unseat BJP veteran and sitting MP Gopal Shetty.

The combines of the Shiv Sena-BJP and the Congress-NCP are each contesting three out of total six seats in Mumbai.

Another keenly-watched fight is between Milind Deora of Congress and sitting MP Arvind Sawant of Shiv Sena in Mumbai South.

In Mumbai North East seat, which hogged the limelight after sitting BJP MP Kirit Somaiya was denied a ticket, the contest lies between Manoj Kotak and former MP Sanjay Dina Patil of the NCP.

In Dindori, the BJP is facing a stiff challenge from Left leader Jiva Pandu Gavit.

In Nandurbar, the party is trying to retain the seat amid intense infighting in local unit.

In Nashik, sitting Sena MP Hemant Godse is in the fray against Sameer Bhujbal, nephew of NCP stalwart Chhagan Bhujbal who is battling money laundering charges.

In Thane neighbouring Mumbai, sitting MP Rajan Vichare of Shiv Sena is pitted against Anand Paranjape of the NCP, while in Kalyan, the main contest lies between Sena's Shrikant Shinde and NCP's Babaji Patil.

Maharashtra sends a total of 48 MPs to Lok Sabha, the second highest after Uttar Pradesh (80).

Previous three phases were held on April 11, 18 and 23.

The final voting percentage in the first and second phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra was 63.04 and 62.88 per cent, respectively. The voter turnout in the third phase stood at 62.33 per cent.

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