The high-voltage campaign for Maharashtra’s 14 Lok Sabha seats which will go to polls in the third phase on April 23 ended at 5 pm on Sunday. Senior leaders from the BJP, Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress sought the support of voters for their respective party candidates during their campaigns. The fate of as many as 249 candidates will be decided in the third phase of polling.
The 14 seats going to polls in this phase are – Jalgaon, Raver (both in north Maharashtra), Jalna, Aurangabad (Marathwada), Raigad, Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg (Konkan), Pune, Baramati, Madha, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Hathkanangale (western Maharashtra) and Ahmednagar (south Maharashtra).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned for the BJP in Ahmednagar and Madha constituencies while Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also addressed public meetings in various seats in support of the party nominees.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, whose party has a pre-poll pact with the BJP in the state, campaigned in various constituencies, including Hathkanangle and Aurangabad.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar campaigned for his party candidates in Satara, Sangli, Madha and Kolhapur.
State Congress chief Ashok Chavan also canvassed for his party candidates in some constituencies.
The Congress and NCP entered into a seat-sharing pact in the state for the Lok Sabha polls.
As part of it, the Congress is contesting Raver, Jalna, Aurangabad, Pune and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg seats while the NCP candidates are in the fray in Jalgaon, Raigad, Madha, Ahmednagar, Satara and Kolhapur.
The prominent seats in the third phase include Jalna, where state BJP president Raosaheb Danve is in the fray against Vilas Autade of the Congress, and Baramati, where Supriya Sule, the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar, is contesting against BJP’s Kanchan Kul.
Another keenly watched seat will be Ahmednagar where Sujay Vikhe Patil is the BJP’s nominee.
He is the son of Congress veteran and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.
Sujay Vikhe Patil joined the BJP in the run-up to the polls, after the NCP refused to vacate the Ahmednagar seat for the Congress. He is now pitted against NCP’s Sangram Jagtap.
Besides, MP Raju Shetti of the Swabhimani Paksha, an ally of the Congress-NCP, is seeking a re-election from Hathkanangale while his party has also fielded candidate nominee in Sangli.
The BJP has this time replaced its sitting MPs in Jalgaon and Ahmednagar.
In 2014, the NCP won Baramati, Madha, Satara and Kolhapur seats while the Congress lost Jalna, Aurangabad, Pune and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg.
The Shiv Sena last time emerged victorious in Aurangabad, Raigad and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg.
Lok Sabha elections to 48 seats in the state are being held in four phases. Polling for the first two phases was held on April 11 and 18 in seven and 10 seats, respectively.
Voting for the fourth phase in 17 constituencies will be held on April 29 and the vote count will be held on May 23.