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The voters of Maharashtra sealed the fate of the votes that will decide the new government in the state. Though the Maharashtra Assembly Election witnessed five-cornered contest between Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) but the exit poll results on Wednesday predicted BJP to emerge as single largest party after the high 64 per cent voter turn-out in October 15 polla. Not only parties, even several leaders are fighting for their prestige in the assembly polls. Have a look at the 5 key leaders whose stake at high in the state. Also Read - 'You Can't Sing': Devendra Fadnavis’ Wife Amruta Trolled After She Shares New Song, Twitter Calls It 'Nepotism' | Watch
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Former chief Minister of Maharashtra, Prthiviraj Chavan is contesting from Karad (south) constituency in Satara. The electoral fight from the home turf would not be a cakewalk for Chavan as he is facing tough fight from seven-time legislator and Congress rebel Vilaskaka Undalkar Patil. To add to Chavan’s woes, Patil has full backing from NCP. Patil enjoys a good support among the people in the rural part of the constituency while Chavan does not connect with the grass-root people of the area. This contest is interesting to watch as all big candidates directly or indirectly has/had been associated with Congress. BJP fielded Atul Bhosale who has strong family roots in the Congress. Shiv Sena candidate Ajinkya Patil is son of Bihar Governor and senior Congressman DY Patil. Chavan who campaigned on the issue of development may find himself in double due to anti-incumbency and rebels.
Former deputy chief minister and finance minister of the state, Ajit Pawar seemed confident to win from Baramati as he had won last four assembly election from the constituency with record margin. In 2009 Assembly elections, Pawar had won with a margin of 1,02,797 votes. He ranked second in the state in terms of the winning margins and all his rivals lost their deposits. But now the scenario has changed. Nephew of NCP chief Sharad Pawar has serious allegation of irrigation scam in the state. His ‘urine’ remark still is in mind of people. Moreover, NCP strongman will be facing possible depletion in Dhangar vote bank following the rise of Rashtriya Samaj Paksha candidate Mahadeo Jankar. The BJP also has alliance with the party. Well, aspirant for the chief minister’s post would have his fingers crossed till the results.
BJP state president Devendra Fadnavis is contesting from Nagpur south-west constituency. A educated Brahmin Fadnavis is projected as Mr Clean of Maharashtra politics. The constituency was formed in 2009 and Fadnavis who was earlier elected twice in a row from Nagpur West decided to contest from new constituency and won comfortably by a margin of 28,000 votes. This time Congress fielded youth face of the party Praful Gudadhe who is the son of Vinod Gudadhe former BJP minister in the state. The contest has become tougher for Fadnavis because Sena fielded Panju who is a brother of BJP corporator Prakash Totwani that divided the BJP workers. The NCP’s old worker Dilip Pankule is also in the fray but has little chance. Fadnavis is ahead of his rivals as his possible status of a chief ministerial candidate from Vidarbha region will benefit him.
Senior Congress leader Narayan Rane is seeking re-election from his family bastion Kudal constituency in Sindhudurg district. The prestige of the Rane family is at risk as the the Sindhudurg district that is home turf of Rane is slipping from his hand . Rane’s elder son Nilesh had lost the Lok Sabha election from Konkan’s Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg seat. Now Rane is in battle ground with his younger son Nitesh. Several of Rane’s supporters have deserted him and joined Sena-BJP. The tough contender of Rane is Vaibhav Naik who was defeated by Rane in 2009. However, he lost against Rane by 24,000 votes, but had a lead of 22,000 votes in the LS polls this year. The biggest hurdle for Rane is the people from 20-odd project-affected areas across the constituency, who passed a resolution to vote against Rane in the Lok Sabha. They comprise over 1.5 lakh votes. If they repeat the pledge, Rane would find difficult to come out as triumph.
Former PWD minister and NCP top brass leader Chhagan Bhujbal who is contesting from Yeola constituency in Nashik for the third consecutive time faced straight fight from Sena’s candidate Sambhaji Pawar. Bhujbal looks ahead from his rivals. Manikrao Shinde, who had contested in 2009 on Shiv Sena’s ticket against Bhujbal and received 56,236 votes have now joined NCP. Moreover, Congress candidate Nivrutti Lahare gave his support to Bhujbal. The big concern for NCP stalwart is that MNS that fielded candidate in all constituencies of Nashik district did not put its candidate against Bhujbal that led no division of Sena’s vote bank. The Sena-BJP split and sympathy for his Lok Sabha defeat may favour him in the resluts.
The stakes of these leaders are on high. The results of assembly election will decided the future of these leaders in the politics.