Mahashtra goes to polls today to elect 288 MLAs; results on Thursday

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on October 21, 2019

The Maharashtra Assembly election is being held today to elect 288 MLAs. Campaigning came to an end on Saturday evening but the firefight on social media via millions of proxy handles continued unabated. Vote counting and announcement of final results would take place on Thursday.

On Saturday, the election fight between the BJP and the NCP reached a new low with an FIR filed against NCP leader Dhananjay Munde for allegedly making obscene remarks against his estranged cousin and Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde at an election rally. A video, which has gone viral on social media allegedly showing the NCP leader making the remarks against the minister has been used as a platform for launching a scathing attack on the NCP.

He said that the video clip had been edited and distorted.

The ruling BJP government, in spite of facing major challenges from the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, has deftly moved the electorate’s attention to the national issues of Article 370 and Balakot attack.

Veteran political analyst, Nagesh Kesari, said that the situation is very fluid in Maharashtra with none of the parties having any clear agenda or direction. Article 370 is being discussed without any deep understanding. At the village and town levels, there are several rebellions in the political parties, which could impact the vote tally of both BJP-Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP alliances. On the ground, farmers continue to suffer due to climate change and the inability of banks and the Fadnavis Government to waive off the loans faster.“It was a similar picture during the 1999 elections when BJP under Gopinath Munde and Shiv Sena under Balasaheb Thackeray were in top form and the opposition parties were in disarray but the poll results were different; Vilasrao Deshmukh of Congress became Chief Minister and NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal became Deputy CM,” he said.

On the other hand, a senior Congress leader pointed out that in spite of the issues of farmers’ suicides, which were also happening right during the election campaign, Congress leadership could not leverage them. The party could not effectively deploy national leaders such as Ashok Gehlot and Jyotiraditya Scindia for effective campaigning. Gehlot could have camped in areas with large Rajasthani population such as Mumbai, Aurangabad, and Kolhapur, and engaged with the voters. “Such campaigns require feet on the ground and not helicopter-based campaigning,” the leader said.

Published on October 21, 2019

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