Pollsters have predicted a landslide victory in Maharashtra for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its key ally Shiv Sena (SS). In the 288 seats of Maharashtra, the primary contest is between the 'Mahayuti' or grand alliance led by the BJP, and the 'maha-aghadi' (grand front) led by the Congress and NCP. Led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is fighting from Nagpur South-West seat, the BJP-SS alliance is hoping to retain power in the heavily-industrialised state. The results will be declared on October 24.
Here’s a look at some of the key constituencies and interesting battles ahead of the results.
In the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections, Sunil Govind Shinde of SS won this seat by defeating the NCP candidate by a margin of 23012 votes which was 15.52 percent of the total votes polled in this constituency in central Mumbai. Sunil Shinde had a vote share of 40.89 percent in 2014 in the constituency. This time, Aaditya Thackeray, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray's elder son, is contesting the election from Worli. The constituency has a mix of Marathi and non-Marathi voters. With the key opposition leader in the area having abdicated to the Shiv Sena, Aaditya is widely believed to have an easy run.
Pankaja Gopinathrao Munde of BJP won this seat in the 2014 elections with 96,904 votes against Dhananjay Panditrao Munde of NCP who received 71,009 votes. Pankaja is the daughter of late Gopinath Munde, is a two-time MLA and is also a cabinet minister in the Maharashtra government. She is the minister for rural development, women and child development.
In 2014, Congress candidate and former Chief Minister of the state Nitesh Narayan Rane secured 74,715 votes against BJP candidate and former MLA Jathar Promod Shantaram's 48,736 votes in this constituency. Ahead of 2019 elections, Narayan Rane joined BJP to fight for his seat against Rajan Shankar Dabholkar of MNS, Satish Jagannath Sawant of Shiv Sena, Sushil Amrutrao Rane of Congress among other contestants.
Nagpur South West
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is seeking re-election from Nagpur South West constituency. He is up against former BJP MLA and now Congress candidate Ashish Deshmukh. The incumbent CM has created the record of becoming the first Maharashtra chief minister to complete a full five-year term in nearly 50 years. The rival of Fadnavis, Ashish Deshmukh is the son of former president of Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee Rajneet Deshmukh, had quit the BJP and resigned as Kaatol MLA in October 2018. Deshmukh joined Congress party after quitting BJP.
In Karad (south), Congress is considered to have a stronghold since the 1960s. This constituency will witness a contest between sitting MLA Prithviraj Chavan, BJP’s Atul Bhosle and Independent candidate Udaysinh Undalkar-Patil, son of Vilasrao Undalkar-Patil, who was seven-time MLA from the seat till he was denied ticket by the Congress in 2014. The former Maharashtra chief minister in the 2019 state assembly elections is seeking a re-election from Karad (South) constituency. The 73-year-old Chavan, a former Union minister, is confident of retaining the seat with an untroubled win against Atul Bhosale (36), the president of Pandharpur's Vitthal Rakhumai Temple Committee, who contested the 2014 polls from the seat but stood third.
Bhokar is part of the Nanded district in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra. The constituency is prominent as former Maharashtra chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan is contesting from here in the 2019 Assembly election. He will tangle with BJP candidate Bapusaheb Gorthekar, Ayalwad Namdev Nagorao of Vanchit Bahujan Aaghadi, Bhagwan Bhimrao Kadam of the Sambhaji Brigade Party, among others. In the year 2009, the Congress leader tasted defeat for the first time, losing to the BJP’s Prataprao Chikhalikar by over 40,000 votes. Eventually he resigned as the state party chief and decided to focus on Nanded.
Solapur City Central
Praniti Shinde, daughter of former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, is the sitting MLA from Solapur city where she is seeking a re-election this year. Since 2009 assembly elections Praniti Shinde, the Congress candidate, has been winning this seat. In 2014, she won this seat with 46,907 votes against Sheikh Taufik Ismail of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) who received 37,138 votes. In 2009, she defeated Adam Narasayya Narayan of Communist Party of India (Marxist) with a margin of over 30,000 votes. Her battle to retain the seat will be hard-bitten as Solapur is dominated by Muslims and Dalits, and Shinde is likely to face resistance from the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi.
In the year 2009 this seat was created and since then NCP leader Jitendra Awhad has been holding it. Shiv Sena has fielded actress-turned-politician Deepali Jahangir Sayed against Awhad. The constituency is considered to be Awhad’s citadel. In 2014, Awhad had won the seat with a significant margin despite it being a multi-cornered contest.