Maharashtra is gearing up for state polls in coming month. With campaigning on in full swing in the state, social media too is abuzz with the probable election schedule. The start of the election campaign comes at a time when BJP and Shiv Sena are still struggling to reach an understanding on the seat sharing formula for the state polls. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) election campaign in Nashik. Modi blamed the Congress for the plight of Kashmiris for decades. He called for making efforts to create a new paradise in the valley. He also said that lot of efforts are being made from across the border to foment violence in Jammu & Kashmir. Modi said that the decision to abrogate Article 370 was taken in the interest of unity of India. He said,“This decision is going to the medium of fulfilling the aspirations and dreams of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. Plenty of efforts are being taken across the border to spread unrest and disbelief and foment violence in Jammu & Kashmir.”
When our correspondent Nikhil Sagare spoke to Congress chief spokesperson Ratnakar Mahajan he said, “Congress party’s campaigning is going on. A campaign is being held by Nana Patole. Half the portion of Maharashtra is witnessing drought and another half portion has witnessed floods. The government has been unable to resolve these issues. It has failed to address the problems of farmers. This government which has come to power by raising corruption issue has been indulging in corruption. More than 15 leaders are involved in corruption but cases have not been probed.”
Modi also hailed Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as youth icon. Addressing the rally in Nashik PM said that Maharashtra has witnessed unparalleled growth under the leadership of Fadnavis. “Crores of people blessed Devendra Fadnavis in his 4000 km statewide tour. Maharashtra’s people have decided to bless only those who will work as per expectations.”
Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi said, “Development is the major agenda of our party. I had started a company at Mankhurd, Shivaji Nagar which are slum areas to generate employment. Youth are getting attracted towards drugs which need to be prevented.”
He also added that Maharashtra has blessed Devendra Fadnavis immensely during his yatra and had made up their mind about retaining him as their CM.
This was Modi’s first public meeting in Maharashtra after the BJP’s victory in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The state polls are also important for BJP because this is the first time that BJP has its own chief minister in Maharashtra and it is the bigger partner in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar said, “Once election dates are declared we will officially start campaigning. Our main plank is our performance of five years under leadership of Devendra Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We will make announcement pertaining to seat distribution at appropriate time.”
With chief minister Devendra Fadnavis leading the campaign for the BJP, the assembly elections will be a test for the ruling party on its development model and governance. The start of the election campaign comes at a time when BJP and its alliance partner Shiv Sena are still struggling to reach an understanding on the seat sharing formula for the state polls. Although the two sides had decided to contest equal number of seats in the 288-member assembly, a section of BJP is keen to contest more seats in the state polls.
Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut said, “The campaigning for election will begin after the filing of nomination forms. Unemployment, farmer’s suicide, drought in Marathwada are the major issues in this election. Shiv Sena has always supported the cause of farmers. We have also taken steps to improve health care facility.”
The state will go to polls next month. The assembly elections in Maharashtra are important because the alliance of BJP and Shiv Sena had won 41 out of the 48 seats in the state. Even as the two sides had contested the 2014 assembly elections separately, the alliance partners formed the government together with a comfortable majority. BJP had won 122 seats while Shiv Sena could manage to win 63 seats in the earlier state polls.