Major political players to be put to the electoral test

Fourteen Lok Sabha seats from Marathwada, Konkan, western and north Maharashtra go to polls on Tuesday in the third phase of the general elections. These include Jalgaon, Raver, Jalna, Aurangabad, Raigad, Pune, Baramati, Ahmednagar, Madha, Sangli, Satara, Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Kolhapur and Hatkanangle.

For the third phase campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held two rallies in Maharashtra while Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah addressed two rallies. Despite the fact that no candidate from his party is contesting the polls, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray addressed four rallies appealing to voters to defeat the Shiv Sena-BJP candidates. Congress president Rahul Gandhi, however, did not hold any rally in the State this time.

Notable contestants in the phase include BJP’s State unit chief Raosaheb Danve (Jalna), State FDA Minister Girish Bapat (Pune), Union Minister and Sena leader Anant Geete (Raigad), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule (Baramati), farmer leader Raju Shetti (Hatkananagle) and Congress leader-turned-BJP MP Narayan Rane’s son Nilesh Rane, a candidate from Maharashtra Swabhiman Party (Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg).

The phase is set to see interesting battles. Aurangabad — a traditional stronghold of the Sena — is slated for a four-corner fight while BJP leaders are hoping to wrest Baramati and Madha from the NCP.


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