Campaign for the third and final phase of Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtra ended, with around 3.18 crore voters expected to decide the fate of 338 candidates in the fray in 19 seats, including six constituencies in Mumbai, on April 24.
Polling will be held in following 19 constituencies: Nandurbar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Raver, Dindori, Nashik in North Maharashtra, Jalna, Aurangabad in Marathwada, Palghar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thane in Thane district and Raigad, besides all the six constituencies of Mumbai North, Mumbai North Central, Mumbai South Central, Mumbai South, Mumbai North East and Mumbai North West.
Prominent candidates in the the poll arena, include PWD Minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal (Nashik), Union minister Milind Deora (Mumbai South) of Congress and Water Resources Minister and NCP leader Sunil Tatkare (Raigad).
Of the 338 candidates in the electoral fray, 149 are independents and 26 women.
Out of the total 3,17,39,442 voters, 1,70,20,383 are men and 1,46,22,713 are women. There are 12 constituencies with over 16 candidates. Aurangabad has the highest number of 27 candidates while Nandurbar has the lowest number of nine contestants.
Thane (20,72,476 voters) is the largest parliamentary seat while Mumbai South central (14,46,979 voters) is the smallest.
There are 121 candidates from registered political parties other than recognised national and state parties.
BJP is contesting 11, Shiv Sena eight, Congress ten, NCP eight, MNS seven, CPI 2 and CPM 3 seats. BSP is contesting all the 19 seats.
There will be 34,343 polling stations for this phase.
In the three-phase elections, ten seats in Vidarbha region went to polls on April 10 while voting for 19 seats in Marathwada and Western Maharashtra regions was held on April 17.
Observing that the government can impose stringent technical requirements to provide best possible medical devices for the purpose of public health programmes, the Bombay High Court refused to quash and set aside bids issued by the state to procure coronary stents.
A city-based company Vascular Concepts Ltd, dealing in manufacture and import of medical devices, including coronary stents, which are used for relieving cardiac ailments, approached the High Court challenging the government’s decision making it mandatory for the medical devices to be approved by not only the Drugs Controller General of India, but also by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The company sought quashing and setting aside of the government’s order allotting bid to US-based companies – India Medtronics Ltd and Abbot Healthcare. According to the company, approval from the DCGI was sufficient.
The government, however, claimed that approval from both DCGI and USFDA was insisted upon in larger public interest and that it does not wish to take any chance in the matter of health of the patients who were likely to receive the stents.
A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and A K Menon accepted this contention and said the petitioner company has failed to establish that the government has acted in an arbitrary or malafide or in a manner that can be said to be against public interest.
“To provide the best possible devices and equipment for the purpose of its public health programme, the state opted for stringent technical requirements. No fault can be found for imposing these specifications,” the Court said.
The Court further held that the stents being imported pursuant to the tender issued are to be used in hospitals under the Rajiv Gandhi Arogya Yojana.
“The state government in its endeavour to ensure that best possible equipment is obtained for discharge of its social responsibility has, therefore, taken a decision in public interest,” the bench said while dismissing the petition.