As 10 Lok Sabha constituencies of Maharashtra go to the polls in the second phase of elections on Thursday, the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena have to defend four seats each, which they won last time. Voters in 10 Lok Sabha seats of the state will exercise their right to vote in the second phase of general elections on April 18.
The 10 constituencies from Maharashtra that will go to polls during the second phase of 2019 Lok Sabha elections include Buldhana, Akola, Amravati, Hingoli, Nanded, Parbhani, Beed, Osmanabad, Latur and Solapur.
The BJP, which had won 23 seats in the state in the last Lok Sabha elections, this time faces a formidable challenge from the coalition of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Indian National Congress (INC). During the 2014 elections for the Lok Sabha, Narendra Modi-led BJP had won the maximum number of 23 seats, followed by the Shiv Sena 18, NCP 4, INC 2 and Socialist Workers Party (SWP) by 1 seat.
The major contenders in the state are the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA). UPA consisted of the Congress and the NCP whereas the NDA consisted of the BJP and the Shiv Sena. The Aam Aadmi Party has decided not to contest Lok Sabha elections from Maharashtra this time. The election is also being seen as a direct fight between NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
After some friction in the past, the BJP and Shiv Sena have once again come together as allies, which might spell trouble for the opposition. Last month, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had accompanied BJP president Amit Shah when he went to file his nomination for the Gandhinagar seat in Gujarat.
In the state, key constituencies to be watched out for include Solapur from where Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr BR Ambedkar, will be contesting against the Congress' Sushilkumar Shinde. Prakash, who will contest from both Akola and Solapur constituencies, is chief of Bahujan Vanchit Aghadi (VBA) - an alliance of his party Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh and Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM.
The 17th Lok Sabha elections for the 48 Parliamentary constituencies of Maharashtra began on April 11. Voting has already taken place on seven seats in the first phase in the state. Polling will be held in four phases, namely April 11, 18, 23 and 29, 2019. Voting will be held at 95,473 polling stations spread across 49,284 polling station locations. Out of the state's total of 87,330,484 electors as on January 31, 2019, women constitute 47.7 per cent. The results will be announced on May 23, 2019.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar