10 LS seats in Maharashtra to vote on Thursday

Mumbai, April 17 (IANS) Ten of Maharashtra’s 48 Lok Sabha constituencies, including three reserved for Scheduled Castes, will go to the polls on Thursday.

The Election Commission (EC) has made elaborate arrangements by setting up a total of 20,716 polling stations in these 10 constituencies. The highest number of polling stations is in Beed — 2,325, and the lowest in Solapur — 1,926, said an EC official on Wednesday.

The combined total electorate for all the 10 seats is 1,85,46,036, comprising 96,94,374 males and 88,51,390 females. There are also 272 transgenders registered as voters with the lowest four in Beed and highest 63 in Nanded.

The constituencies going to vote are Buldhana, Akola, Amravati (SC), Hingoli, Nanded, Parbhani, Beed, Osmanabad, Latur (SC) and Solapur (SC).

The main contests will be between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena and opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party, besides the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) Dalit-Muslim front.

There are several key contests among these seats, eight of which are held by the BJP-Shiv Sena, while two had gone to the Congress while weathering the “Modi wave” of 2014.

Here are brief snapshots of the 10 constituencies.

Buldhana, considered a Sena bastion since 1999, the party has retained sitting MP Prataprao G. Jadhav who will lock horns with the NCP’s Rajendra Shingane in the constituency, with a total electorate of 15,96,234 including 8,45,547 males and 7,50,687 females.

Akola will be a major contest as Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh’s Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of the architect of Indian Constitution, B.R. Ambedkar, had won the constituency twice — 1998 and 1999 — but was defeated by BJP’s Sanjay S. Dhotre in 2004.

In a triangular battle this time, BJP’s Dhotre will lock horns with the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) comprising Ambedkar’s BBM and and the Owaisi brothers’ AIMIM and Congress’ strongman Hidayatulla B. Patel. The constituency has 16,46,463 voters, including 8,69,922 males and 7,76,547 females, and a 20 per cent Scheduled Caste ratio.

Amravati (SC), mostly a rural agrarian region, will see veteran four-time Sena MP Anandrao V. Adsul grapple with the glamourous south Indian actress Navneet Kaur Rana of the Yuva Swabhiman Party (YSP), supported by the Congress-NCP led 56-party Mahagathbandhan.

Close to the BJP bigwigs, her husband is Ravi Rana, an Independent legislator from Badnera and nephew of yoga guru Baba Ramdev. The SC reserved constituency has 16,11,365 voters, including 8,48,050 males and 7,63,315 females.

Hingoli, represented by the Congress’ Rajeev S. Satav — who defeated the Sena’s Subhash B. Wankhede during the 2014 “Modi wave” — will not contest.

However, the Congress has fielded Wankhede, who recently walked over to the party and will lock horns with the Sena’s Hemant Patil, a sitting MLA from Nanded South. The constituency has 15,86,194 voters, including 8,39,540 males and 7,46,645 females.

Nanded will be another major contest where state Congress President Ashok Chavan is seeking relection in this last of bastions which survived the ‘Modi wave’ in 2014.

He will lock horns with BJP’s Pratap Patil-Chikhalikar in the constituency, which has 16,87,057 voters including 8,78,553 males and 8,08,504 females in the heart of the backward Marathwada region.

Parbhani, another Sena stronghold, is currently held by Sanjay H. Jadhav who is locking horns in a triangular contest with NCP’s Rajesh U. Vitekar and CPI-M’s R.R. Kshirsagar, besides the VBA.

The rural-agro economy-based constituency has 18,03,792 voters including 9,45,899 males and 8,57,893 females.

Beed is a BJP bastion represented by Pritam Gopinath Munde, who secured the higest-ever victory margin of over 6,96,000 votes in a 2014 by-election after her father, Union Minister Gopinath Munde’s sudden death.

She is contesting against NCP’s Bajrang M. Sonwane, a grassroots worker who has climbed his way to national politics in the constituency, with 17,92,650 voters, including 9,63,462 men and 8,29,188 women.

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