All arrangements have been made for Tuesday’s Maharashtra Assembly elections.
“We are absolutely ready for a good election,” Chief Electoral Officer Debashish Chakrabarty told The Hindu.
In the 288 constituencies, 3,559 candidates are in the fray. A total of 7,58,11,245 voters — 3,97,34,776 men and 3,60,76,469 women — are set to exercise their franchise in 84,136 polling stations.
In the naxal-dominated Gadchiroli district, a large number of Central paramilitary force companies have been deployed after the recent attack, which claimed the lives of 17 police officers, Superintendent of Police S. Jayakumar said. Additional air cover was provided and borders were sealed. There are 839 polling stations.
The kith and kin of many political leaders are in the fray. In the Congress, the contenders include President Pratibha Patil’s son Rajendra alias Raosaheb Shekhawat in Amravati; Praniti Shinde, daughter of the former Chief Minister and current Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in Solapur City Central; Amit Deshmukh, son of Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, in Latur City; and Rahul Pugalia, son of the former MP Naresh Pugalia, in Ballarpur. In the Bharatiya Janata Party, national general secretary Gopinath Munde’s daughter Pankaja Munde is a candidate in Parli, whereas his niece Poonam Mahajan is contesting in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar (West).
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan is contesting from Bhokar. Among the Nationalist Congress Party honchos are Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal from Yevla, Home Minister Jayant Patil from Islampur and the former Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil from Tasgaon-KavatheMahankal. Pankaj Bhujbal, son of the senior Bhujbal, is contesting from Nandgaon.
Mahim in Mumbai, Guhagar in Konkan, Kolhapur in western Maharashtra and Amravati in Vidarbha are among the hotly contested seats.