Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday filed his nomination for the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat, where polls will be held on April 11.
Gadkari, who had defeated Vilas Muttemwar (Congress) in the 2014 elections by a margin of 2.84 lakh votes, said he will win with a bigger margin this time around.
“This time, I will win with a bigger margin. People have a good opinion of the work done by the Narendra Modi-led government in the last five years. Our government did more than (was promised) in the poll manifesto,” Gadkari told reporters.
The BJP veteran was accompanied by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Energy minister Chandrashekar Bawankule, family members and a large number of party workers, while filing his nomination.
“Your support and love is the biggest strength for us,” Gadkari said.
Fadnavis said Gadkari will register a “historic win” from Nagpur.
“He will create a record in Maharashtra,” the chief minister said, adding that the “BJP-Shiv Sena combine would win 45 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Shiv Sena’s Krupal Tumane, sitting MP from Ramtek (SC) seat, also filed his nomination for the Ramtek seat.
Nana Patole of Congress, who will take on Gadkari in Nagpur, and former IAS officer Kishor Gajbhiye, pitted against Tumane from Ramtek, also filed their nominations later in the day.
Patole claimed Nagpur and Ramtek seats were Congress bastions, and said he would defeat Gadkari comfortably.
State Congress chief Ashok Chavan filed his nomination from the Nanded constituency.
He was accompanied by NCP leader Kamal Kishore Kadam on the occasion.
Chavan, the sitting MP from Nanded, exuded confidence that the Congress will emerge victorious in the country winning seats “in big numbers”.
He claimed that the present atmosphere was against the BJP.
“People are fed up. Farmers, students, unemployed and traders are fed up with the government. The (BJP-led) government has not kept its promises. Hence, there will definitely be a change in guard,” Chavan claimed.
Chavan is pitted against Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Chikhlikar, the latter contesting on a BJP ticket.
Another senior Maharashtra Congress leader, Manikrao Thakre, filed his papers from the Yavatmal constituency.
Meanwhile, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh leader Prakash Ambedkar, who has formed the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi along with AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, filed nomination from Solapur seat.
He will take on Congress veteran Sushil Kumar Shinde there. The seat is held by BJP’s Sharad Bansode, who defeated Shinde in the 2014 polls by a margin of 1.49 lakh votes.
Ambedkar accused Shinde of not protecting interests of backward class communities from the constituency.