The fate of 323 candidates, including Union minister Subhash Bhamre, Congress nominees Milind Deora and Urmila Matondkar, will be decided in the fourth and final phase of polling in Maharashtra covering 17 Lok Sabha constituencies on April 29.
More than 3.11 crore voters, spread across the 17 Lok Sabha seats located in North Maharashtra, Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and parts of Western Maharashtra, are eligible to exercise their franchise.
As many as 33,314 polling stations are being set up in these constituencies, where 323 candidates are in the poll field.
Of the total 3,11,92,823 voters, 1,66,31,707 are male, 1,45,59,698 female and 1,418 from the third gender.
The constituencies voting on April 29 are: Nandurbar, Dhule, Dindori, Nashik (North Maharashtra), Palghar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thane (located on Mumbai’s outskirts), Mumbai North, Mumbai North-West, Mumbai North-Central, Mumbai North-East, Mumbai South and Mumbai South-Central, Maval and Shirur (Pune district) and Shirdi (Ahmednagar district).
In 2014, the BJP had won 8 of these 17 seats, while its ally Shiv Sena bagged the remaining 9.
The Palghar seat was won by the BJP in 2014. However, this time the Shiv Sena is contesting on the seat as part of a pre-poll alliance between the two saffron allies.
Opposition Congress, which had won just two seats in 2014 in Maharashtra, is facing a tough task of reclaiming its lost support base in North Maharashtra and Mumbai.
The NCP is fighting to regain its position in Thane district and Western Maharashtra.
Prominent candidates in the fray include Bhamre (Dhule-BJP), actress-turned-politician Urmila Matondkar (Mumbai North), Priya Dutt (Mumbai North-Central Congress) and Deora (Mumbai South).
From the NCP, its president Sharad Pawar’s grand nephew Parth Pawar is making his electoral debut from Maval, while popular Marathi actor Amol Kolhe is the NCP candidate from Shirur.
Maharashtra has 48 Lok Sabha seats, the second highest after Uttar Pradesh (80). Voting for 31 of these seats was held in the first three phases – April 11, 18 and 23.
Counting of votes will take place on May 23.
This is for the first time that Maharashtra is having a four-phase polling in Lok Sabha elections.