As date of voting approaching near, election campaign reaches its peak across Maharashtra. The campaign will come to stand still on October 19. Thus, only five days are left for political leaders to put their points to voters of the state. Therefore, leaders of ruling and opposition parties are trying to leave no stone unturned in this election to connect with voters. The schedule of every leader is very busy. They have no time for proper food and sleep. Maharashtra will go to polls on October 21. Counting of votes will be held on October 24 and results will be declared the same day.
When our correspondent Nikhil Sagare spoke to Former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan he said, “Congress candidates are campaigning in their respective constituency. Central level leaders too are expected to join campaigning. Rahul Gandhi has started campaigning in Maharashtra and Congress will derive benefit out of it.”
Prime Minister, Chief Minister, ministers, former chief ministers and senior leaders from all the political parties are holding and addressing meetings and rallies to lure the voters. Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states are also campaigning in Maharashtra. On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed election rallies. PM Modi addressed rallies in Jalgaon and Sakoli. On October 16, PM will address three rallies at Akola, Partur (Jalna district) and Panvel (Navi Mumbai). He will hold election meetings in Satara, Pune and Parli on October 17. PM Modi will address a grand public meeting in Mumbai on October 18. Rahul Gandhi addressed his first rally in the state. He addressed two rallies in Mumbai in Dharavi and Chandivali. Congress leader also addressed a rally at Ausa in Latur district.
Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi said, “Samajwadi party is working for the upliftment of downtrodden. Those who are creating a rift between Hindus and Muslims are a threat to the nation’s security. The economy of the country is witnessing a slump, unemployment has increased.”
On Monday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held meetings in Amravati, Washim and Yavatmal districts, while Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray held seven meetings in Osmanabad and Solapur districts. MNS President Raj Thackeray held meetings in Yavatmal and Pune districts. President of NCP Sharad Pawar held meetings in Kannada and Vaijapur in Aurangabad and Shegaon and Kopargaon in Ahmednagar district. Prakash Ambedkar addressed four meetings in Parbhani, Jalna and Aurangabad districts. Asaduddin Owaisi also addressed a meeting in Bhiwandi.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Dr Manisha Kayande said, “The manifesto of Shiv Sena is publicised by us. Candidates who are contesting for the first time are meeting people by doing door to door campaigning. Shiv Sena is focused on this. Uddhav and Aditya Thackeray are holding 3 to 4 political rallies in a day. Aditya Thackeray while campaigning in Worli is touring all over Maharashtra too. Shiv Sena is expected to win more than 100 seats.”
It is worth mentioning that the BJP and the Sena alliance is seeking second term in the assembly elections, while the opposition Congress-NCP are contesting polls to make a comeback to power. The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance and the Congress-NCP coalition are locked in tough fights. Many small parties are also fighting elections for the spoils. The MNS of Raj Thackeray, AIMIM, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatna are prominent in this list.
NCP Mumbai president and spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “Candidates are having door to door conversation with people. Sitting MLAs have not performed their job well. Inflation, farmer suicides, unemployment has increased. Sharad Pawar’s rallies are getting good response from public. This time there will be a change in governance.”
According to the Election Commission of India, elections for the 288 assembly seats in the state will be held at 96,661 polling stations on October 21. Over 8.9 crore voters are the expected to cast their votes. Total 3,239 candidates are in the fray. 1,79,895 ballot units and 1,26,505 control units will be used. For the first time VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) machines will be used in Maharashtra assembly elections. 1,35,021 VVPAT machines will be used across the state.
BJP national vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said, “Every possible effort is made to reach out to voters. Campaigning is being done to attract new voters. We are not leaving any stone unturned to connect with voters. Modi and Amit Shah are senior leaders and their campaigning will definitely help us. Our party is expected to win 75 per cent seats out of 164.”