Counting underway for 48 Maha LS seats amid heavy security

Mumbai, June 4 (UNI) The counting of votes for the battleground state of Maharashtra commenced on Tuesday. Maharashtra is a make or break state for BJP-led Maha Yuti (NDA) and Congress-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (INDIA). The clarity is expected to emerge around noon.

The elections to the 48 seats of Maharashtra – second after 80 of Uttar Pradesh – were held in the first five phases of the seven-phased comprehensive election process.

The Maha Yuti comprises BJP, Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar-led NCP while the Maha Vikas Aghadi includes Congress, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) and Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP).

The largest chunk of fights are between BJP and Congress followed by 13 of Shiv Sena vs Shiv Sena (UBT), eight involving BJP and NCP (SP), five of BJP vs Shiv Sena (UBT).

Within these, there are some triangular contests as well.

Two seats each involve direct contests between NCP vs NCP (SP), NCP vs Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress vs Shiv Sena.

One contest involves Shiv Sena (UBT) and Mahadev Jankar-led Rashtriya Samaj Paksha (RSP).

The Congress vs BJP fights are in Nandurbar (ST), Dhule, Nanded, Jalna, Latur (SC), Akola, Amravati (SC), Nagpur, Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST), Bhandara-Gondiya, Chandrapur, Mumbai North, Mumbai North-Central, Pune and Solapur (SC). The Shiv Sena vs Shiv Sena (UBT) direct fights are in Buldhana, Hingoli, Aurangabad, Nashik, Yavatmal-Washim, Kalyan, Thane, Shirdi (SC), Maval, Hatkanangle, Mumbai South, Mumbai South-Central and Mumbai North-West.

The direct NCP vs NCP (SP) fights are in Baramati and Shirur.

The BJP vs Shiv Sena (UBT) contests are in Palghar (ST), Mumbai North-East, Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Jalgaon and Sangli.

The BJP vs NCP (SP) fights are Madha, Ahmednagar, Beed, Wardha, Bhiwandi, Satara, Raver and Dindori (ST).

The NCP vs Shiv Sena (UBT) contests are in Osmanabad and Raigad, Congress vs Shiv Sena in two seats of Ramtek (SC) and Kolhapur.

There is one contest in Parbhani involving Shiv Sena (UBT) and RSP, which has been given ticket from NCP quota as MVA candidate.

The top leaders in fray include BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis, who is the Deputy Chief Minister and calls the shots for the Maha Yuti alliance, state unit President Chandrashekhar Bawankule, his Mumbai counterpart Ashish Shelar, state Revenue Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, new entrant Ashok Chavan and Pankaja Munde.

For Congress, it’s a challenge for state Congress President Nana Patole, Congress Legislature Party leader Balasaheb Thorat and Prithviraj Chavan, Naseem Khan, Prof Varsha Gaikwad who are the key strategists.

However, the performance of Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena and Ajit Pawar-led NCP, the two parties that undergone splits, is a major area of concern for Fadnavis, the BJP’s trouble shooter, who had earlier been the Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and stitched together the new alliance by splitting two parties.

In June-July 2022, Shinde rebelled against Uddhav Thackeray and became the Chief Minister of the Maha Yuti government while Ajit Pawar staged a banner of revolt against his mentor Sharad Pawar joined a year later in June-July 2023 as the Deputy Chief Minister.

While Thackeray now heads the Shiv Sena (UBT), Sharad Pawar leads NCP (SP).

The elections would have a direct bearing on the fate of Thackeray, his son and Worli MLA Aaditya Thackeray and their close aides like Sanjay Raut, Anil Desai and Anil Parab.

On the other hand, besides Sharad Pawar, his daughter Supriya Sule, who is Baramati MP and leaders like Jayant Patil and Jitendra Awhad have a lot at stake. From the Pawar family bastion of Baramati, Ajit Pawar pitted his wife Sunetra Pawar against Supriya Sule, the three-time MP from Baramati.

As far as Maha Yuti is concerned, the BJP has contested the lion’s share of 28 seats, followed by Shinde’s Shiv Sena which contested 15 seats and Ajit Pawar four seats while NCP left one seat for Rashtriya Samaj Paksha founder Mahadev Jankar.

Within the MVA, Thackeray grabbed 21 seats followed by Congress 21 and NCP (SP) 10.

Shinde’s core team includes his son and Kalyan MP Dr Shrikant Shinde, Uday Samant, Deepak Kesarkar, Sandipan Bhumare, Sanjay Shirsat, Naresh Mhaske among others.

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