LS polls: MahaYuti & MVA in tough fight in 13 Maha seats; focus on Mumbai’s 6 Parliamentary constituencies

MahaYuti & MVA in tough fight in 13 Maha seats; focus on Mumbai’s 6 Parliamentary constituencies. — IANS

Sanjay Jog

Mumbai, May 18 (IANS) The campaign in 13 Parliamentary constituencies from Maharashtra, which will go for polling on May 20 in the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections, concluded on Saturday with both MahaYuti and Maha Vikas Aghadi sounding confident of putting a strong performance.

The constituencies include Dhule, Dindori, Nashik, Palghar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thane, Mumbai North, Mumbai North West, Mumbai North East, Mumbai North Central, Mumbai South Central and Mumbai South.

There are 264 candidates while a total of 2,46,69,544 voters will exercise their franchise on Monday.

Of these 13 seats, MahaYuti and Maha Vikas Aghadi are locked in a battle for prestige for six seats in Mumbai.

On the other hand, Shiv Sena (UBT) and Congress have fought the elections with a common objective of regaining their past glory and “save Mumbai from being declared as Union Territory by the BJP government” if voted to power.

Currently, BJP holds Dhule, Dindori, Bhiwandi, Mumbai North, Mumbai North East, Mumbai North Central while Mumbai South and Thane are represented by Shiv Sena (UBT) and Nashik, Mumbai North West, Mumbai South Central Kalyan and Palghar by the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena.

Incidentally, not a single seat is held by the NCP led by Ajit Pawar.

After the split in the Shiv Sena in June 2022 the political equations changed and during the seat sharing arrangement, Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde succeeded in getting Thane, Kalyan, Nashik, Mumbai North West, Mumbai South and Mumbai South Central in its quota, while BJP has fielded its nominees in Palghar, Mumbai North, Mumbai North Central, Dhule and Dindori.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) has succeeded in getting Mumbai South Central in its quota despite Congress’ claim.

In addition, the party is contesting the Mumbai South, Mumbai North West and Thane.

In Mumbai North, Union Minister Piyush Goyal is engaged in a direct fight against Congress nominee Bhushan Patil whose nomination was declared a bit late giving an edge to the former to reach out to the voters much earlier.

In Mumbai North West, Shiv Sena (UBT) nominee Amol Kirtikar, who is the son of sitting MP and Shiv Sena leader Gajanan Kirtikar, is pitted against Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena nominee Ravindra Waikar.

Waikar got limited time to conduct outreach to voters due to delay in the announcement of his nomination, but made efforts to make the fight tough for Kirtikar.

In Mumbai North Central, BJP dropped the sitting MP Poonam Mahajan and nominated well-known advocate Ujjwal Nikam who is contesting against the Mumbai city unit Congress chief Varsha Gaikwad.

The BJP is striving for winning the seat for the third consecutive term even as Gaikwad has put up a major challenge.

In Mumbai South Central, Shiv Sena nominee Rahul Shewale is pitted against Uddhav Thackeray’s close aide Anil Desai where Marathi, Muslim, and Dalit voters will play a significant role in deciding their fate.

Moreover, in Mumbai South, the Shiv Sena UBT has renominated sitting MP Arvind Sawant against Shiv Sena candidate Yamini Jadhav who got little less than 20 days for campaigning as BJP and Shiv Sena were unable to seal the agreement over the seat.

In Mumbai North East, BJP denied the ticket to the sitting MP Manoj Kotak by nominating party legislator Mihir Kotecha against Shiv Sena (UBT) nominee Sanjay Patil.

In Dhule, the BJP has renominated sitting MP and former minister Subhash Bhamre against Congress nominee Shobha Bachhav, while in Dindori, a school teacher and NCP (SP) nominee Bhaskar Bhagare has posed a serious challenge to the BJP nominee and Union Minister, Bharati Pawar.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s son and sitting MP Shrikant Shinde expects to score a hat trick as he is pitted against Shiv Sena (UBT) nominee Vaishali Darekar from Kalyan.

In Thane, which is CM’s home turf, there is a direct fight between two Shiv Sena factions.

The Shiv Sena has fielded Naresh Mhaske against Shiv Sena (UBT) nominee and sitting MP Rajan Vichare. In the tribal dominated Palghar constituency, there is a triangular fight among BJP nominee Hemant Savara, Shiv Sena (UBT) candidate Bharti Kamdi and Bahujan Vikas Aghadi nominee Rajesh Patil.

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