Mumbai: Union minister Subhash Bhamre, and Congress leaders Milind Deora and Urmila Matondkar are among the 323 candidates whose fate would be decided in the fourth and final phase of polling in Maharashtra across 17 Lok Sabha seats on Monday.
Altogether 3.11 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise across the 17 seats of Mumbai metropolitan region and parts of northern and western Maharashtra. The constituencies up for grabs are – Nandurbar, Dhule, Dindori, Nashik (North Maharashtra), Palghar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thane, Mumbai-North, Mumbai-North West, Mumbai-North Central, Mumbai-North East, Mumbai-South and Mumbai-South Central in the Mumbai region, Maval and Shirur in Pune district, and Shirdi in Ahmednagar district.
There are 65 critical booths in suburban Mumbai where the polling process will be monitored through webcasting, an election
official said. People will not be allowed to take their mobile phones inside the polling booths, he said.
A total of 33,314 polling stations are set up across the 17 constituencies. Out of 3,11,92,823 eligible voters, 1,66,31,707 are men, 1,45,59,698 women and 1,418 members of the third gender.
In the 2014 general polls, the BJP won eight out of these 17 seats and its ally Shiv Sena bagged nine. The BJP last year also won the bypoll to Palghar Lok Sabha seat, where sitting MP Rajendra Gavit is contesting on Shiv Sena’s
ticket this time.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed rallies in Nandurbar, Dindori and Mumbai and tried to woo the rural as well as cosmopolitan voters by highlighting infrastructural and developmental work done under his rule.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who campaigned in Shirdi, tried to project his party’s proposed minimum guarantee scheme ‘NYAY’ as a game changer for the poor. Bhamre is BJP’s nominee from Dhule, while Deora and Matondkar are contesting on Congress’ ticket from Mumbai-South and Mumbai-North seats, respectively.
Deora is pitted against sitting Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant while Matondkar is taking on BJP veteran and parliamentarian Gopal Shetty. The other prominent candidates include Congress’ Priya Dutt from Mumbai-North Central seat and NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s grandnephew Parth Pawar, who is entering the electoral politics from Maval seat.
In Mumbai-North East seat, where sitting BJP MP Kirit Somaiya has been denied a ticket, the main contest is between the party nominee Manoj Kotak and NCP’s Sanjay Dina Patil. Saffron allies BJP and Shiv Sena are contesting three seats each out of total six in Mumbai.
The Congress nominees are in the fray in five of these seats while the NCP has fielded its candidate in one seat. In Nashik, sitting Sena MP Hemant Godse is in the fray against Sameer Bhujbal, nephew of NCP stalwart Chhagan Bhujbal who is battling money laundering charges.
Maharashtra sends 48 MPs to Lok Sabha, the second highest after Uttar Pradesh which has 80 parliamentary seats.
Polling for the previous three phases in Maharashtra was held on April 11 (seven seats), April 18 (10 seats) and April 23 (14 seats). Elaborate security arrangements have been made in Mumbai, in view of the recent serial blasts in Sri Lanka.
Over 40,400 security personnel have been deployed in the metropolis for the smooth conduct of the polls, according to a statement issued by Mumbai Police. Anti-terror measures have also been put in place with personnel from Force One, Quick Response Teams, Assault Teams and Anti-Terrorism Cell being deployed in Mumbai.
Over 17,000 officers and staff members of the Mumbai Police have registered to cast their votes through postal ballots.