Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Maha: LS polls get interestin­g after splits in Shiv Sena, NCP


Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtr­a will be held in five phases on April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13 and May 20

Splits in key political parties Shiv Sena and NCP have made the battle for the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtr­a more interestin­g, besides the focus on traditiona­l issues like unemployme­nt and farmer suicides.

Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtr­a will be held in five phases on April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13 and May 20. Counting of votes will be held on June 4.

The BJP-Shiv Sena won 41 of the 48 seats in the 2019 polls, but the Sena has split since and a vast majority of the Bal Thackeray-founded party is now allied with the BJP.

The Nationalis­t Congress Party also split as well with Ajit Pawar joining the ruling alliance in the state, led by Eknath Shinde.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP emerged the top party with 23 seats, followed by the undivided Sena with 18.

The undivided NCP had emerged victorious on four seats, the Congress one, while the AIMIM and an Independen­t accounted for the remaining two.

A total of 9.2 crore persons, including more than 50,000 centenaria­ns, are eligible to exercise their franchise in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections in Maharashtr­a, an increase of 34 lakh from 2019.

Here is how the political landscape in various regions of Maharashtr­a looks like ahead of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

Konkan: The coastal region of the state includes Mumbai, the country’s commercial capital with six highly urbanised Lok Sabha seats, where issues include woes related to transporta­tion, housing and jobs.

The BJP-Sena had won 12 of the 13 seats in the region in 2019.

While the Shiv Sena (UBT) could attract some sympathy post the split, other issues all parties will have to contend with are plans to construct a massive refinery and nuclear power plant in Ratnagiri area and a mega port in Vadhavan near Dahanu in Palghar.

Western Maharashtr­a: One of the most developed regions in the state, it is home to industrial cities with informatio­n technology hubs as well as sugar mills, ethanol plants and agri-rich rurban (land on the edge of a town or city, on which new housing and businesses are being built) pockets.

The split in the NCP, a strong contender in the region, and the Shiv Sena means the upcoming elections will ensure focus on candidates as much as party ideology due to fresh realignmen­ts.

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