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2nd phase: Farm distress weighs heavy on Maha voters' minds

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Isues like farm distress and lack of jobs dominated campaign in 10 constituencies in and regions in Maharashtra, where polling for the second phase of elections will be held on April 18.

Over 3.36 crore voters are expected to decide the fate of 179 candidates, including former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Sushilkumar Shinde, in these 10 seats, campaigning for which ended Monday.

The seats are: Buldhana, Akola, Amravati in and Hingoli, Nanded, Parbhani, Beed, Osmanabad, Latur in and Solapur in south-western

In the 2014 elections, the NDA won 8 out of these 10 seats, riding the wave, whereas the won the remaining two seats - Nanded and Hingoli.

This time, the BJP and are contesting four seats each, while the and are contesting five and four seats respectively. The has supported an ally in Amravati.

is contesting from Solapur and is in the poll arena from Nanded.

The efforts of Congress and to make a comeback may be dented by the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) led by Dalit and

The VBA may divide Dalit and Muslim votes, which experts believe could favour the NDA candidates.

Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, is contesting from Akola and Solapur seats.

The BJP and have replaced sitting in some seats. The BJP has fielded Sudhakar Shringare from Latur, denying renomination to sitting Sunil Gaikwad.

The Sena has replaced Osmanabad Ravindra Gaikwad, who was in the limelight for hitting an Air staffer with a slipper at It has fielded Omraje Nimbalkar.

In Hingoli, the Congress has fieled against sitting who was not keen to contest this time. Wankhede's main opponent is Sena MLA

Chavan, who is contesting from Nanded, is pitted against BJP candidate Chikhlikar, a MLA, joined the BJP to take on the former chief minister, his former colleague while in the Congress.

In Amravati, is seeking re-election.

In Akola, is pitted against of the Congress and of the VBA.

In 2014 elections, Patel had finished as the first runner-up relegating Ambedkar, who heads Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, to the third slot in Akola.

In Solapur, is trying hard to stay relevant in electoral from his home turf. The veteran Congress leader, who had lost to a BJP candidate in 2014, is facing challenge from Ambedkar and Jaisiddheshwar Swami of the BJP, who has a following among Lingayats.

In Beed, the home constituency of late BJP Gopinath Munde, his daughter is seeking another term. She is facing Bajrang Sonawane of the NCP.

The hectic campaign in Beed saw Pritam's sister and state Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde, and her estranged cousin Dhananjay Munde, of Opposition in the state Council, addressing several rallies.

During campaigning for the second phase, the Congress and the NCP accused the ruling BJP of shoddy implementation of a loan waiver for farmers and the BJP tried to build the narrative around national security and "decisiveness" in decision making under

Maharashtra, which sends second highest number of to (48) after (80), is voting in four phases.

A total of seven constituencies, all in the region in East Maharashtra, had voted in the first phase on April 11, recording a voter turnout of over 61 per cent.

Polling will be held on April 23 and 29 for the remaining seats.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 16 2019. 19:30 IST