Bahujan Vikas Agadhi (BVA) MLA Vilas Tare has joined the Sena. Prominent defectors from the NCP who have switched loyalties to the BJP are former minister and Navi Mumbai strongman Ganesh Naik, who was with Pawar for at least two decades, and Udayanraje Bhosale, a direct descendant of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
Congress Turncoats | As far as the Congress is concerned, the party appears rudderless in the state which once used to be its stronghold. Many leaders of the party, including former Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and former minister Harshvardhan Patil, have joined the BJP. While sitting MLAs Nirmala Gavit, Bhausaheb Kambale and Abdul Sattar have joined the Shiv Sena, MLAs Kalidas Kolambkar and Jaykumar Gore have crossed over to the BJP. Former Mumbai Congress president Kripashankar Singh, a north Indian leader who wields clout in some pockets, has also quit the party. Though he has not opened his cards on his future political move, speculation is that he might join the
Setting the Agenda | For Sharad Pawar, it could be the toughest battle in his political career spanning over five decades. It was evident from speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and earlier of BJP chief Amit Shah that the BJP has been strategically attacking Pawar. Apart from raising issues like farm loan waiver and development, indications are that the BJP would milk the withdrawal of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 to push its nationalist agenda. On the other hand, the Congress and the NCP are targetting the government on agrarian distress, drought, the economic "slowdown" and "joblessness".
BJP-Sena to Lock Horns | In a clever strategy, the BJP has been inducting leaders from the NCP and the Congress since the last few months to expand its footprint in the regions where the party lacks organisational base. The BJP's tactic is not only proving to be
psychologically advantageous for the saffron party but it is also a signal to the Uddhav Thackeray-led party to be ready to play the second fiddle in the state politics. The BJP and the Sena are locked in a tug-of-war over sharing of the 288 seats.
Congress' Stronghold in Vidarbha, Marathwada, Mumbai | With the BJP taking centrestage even in Lok Sabha polls contested in 2014 and 2019, the Congress' hold in its strongholds of Vidarbha, Marathwada and Mumbai region has weakened. Similarly, the NCP is struggling to retain its pocket-borough of western Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena has retained its base in Konkan.
BJP Looks to Improve Tally | Apart from testing the fortunes of ruling BJP and incumbent Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the next month's assembly polls in Maharashtra pose a tough challenge to the Opposition bloc, especially to NCP chief Sharad Pawar, beset with defections to the ruling camp. This will also be the first assembly election under the Narendra Modi government and also first after the April-May Lok Sabha polls, which handed a massive mandate to the Narendra Modi government. The BJP, led by Fadnavis, is looking to better its 2014 tally of 122 seats in the 288-member House.
The Chief Election Commissioner also addressed the issue of environment and appealed to political parties to avoid single-use plastic during campaigns.
Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora: Election campaigns impose an environmental cost upon us. We appeal to political parties to avoid use of plastic and use only environment-friendly material in their campaigns. pic.twitter.com/7WRThs4K6P— ANI (@ANI) 21 September 2019
BJP Banking on 'Clean Governance' in Haryana | The BJP had swept all 10 Lok Sabha seats in May and has been gunning for a 75+ tally in the 90-seat Assembly. The saffron party has 48 MLAs in the outgoing Assembly. The party’s main poll plank is clean governance, with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar pitching that his government has stopped corruption, eliminated the culture of middle men and made merit the basis of recruitment. Read More
Will Congress-NCP Gamble Pay Off Against Oldest Allies? | The key contenders for the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections are NDA allies Shiv Sena and BJP, while Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has joined hands with Congress to fight on 125 seats each. The upcoming elections in Maharashtra may see Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aditya enter the poll fray, with party activists urging the Yuva Sena leader to contest from Worli Assembly constituency. Read More
Bypolls Declared in 64 Seats | The Election Commission also announced bypolls in 64 seats, which fall in Arunachal Pradesh (1), Assam (4), Bihar (1), Chhattisgarh (1), Gujarat (4), Himachal Pradesh (2), Karnataka (15), Kerala (5), Madhya Pradesh (1), Meghalaya (1), Odisha (1), Pudducherry (1), Punjab (4), Rajasthan (2), Sikkim (3), Tamil Nadu (2), Telangana (1), Uttar Pradesh (11). The election body further said that the bypolls in West Bengal will not take place during the time of Durga Puja.
CEC Sunil Arora announces, "Special security arrangements will be made for LWE affected areas in Gadchiroli and Gondia in Maharashtra."
Voters in the State | The poll-bound Maharashtra has added nearly eight lakh voters since the April-May 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The overall increase in the number of voters in Maharashtra compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is 7,69,165. The voter tally has gone from 8,86,77,046 at the time of the Lok Sabha elections in April-May to 8,94,46,211 now.
Current Status of Maharashtra Assembly | There are 288 assembly constituencies in Maharashtra - of which 234 are for general category candidates, 29 reserved for Scheduled Castes and 25 earmarked for Scheduled Tribes. The state has 96,654 polling stations with average voter per booth at 925, said the ECI official. In the 2014 assembly polls, the BJP had won 122 seats followed by the Shiv Sena (63), the Congress (42) and the NCP (41). Smaller parties and independents had bagged 20 seats.
BJP Campaign: 'Jan Ashirwad Yatra' | Khattar's Jan Ashirwad Yatra, which started on August 18 and covered all 90 assembly constituencies in the state, culminated in Rohtak on September 8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present on the occasion to address the Vijay Sankalp rally. Prominent among those present on the occasion were Union minister Narendra Tomar, state Cabinet ministers Capt Abhimanyu and Ram Bilas Sharma.
Khattar Confident of BJP Victory | Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar here on Sunday expressed confidence that the BJP will cross the 75-mark in the upcoming assembly polls in the state. "We will cross the target of 75 seats in Haryana," the CM said addressing the Vijay Sankalp rally in Rohtak, considered to be a bastion of the Congress.
Bhunder said at that time, the BJP had "promised" to give some seats to them during the Vidhan Sabha polls. "The negotiations on seat sharing are on. But if these fail to any bear fruit and the BJP decides not to make much adjustment to accommodate us, then we will contest the assembly polls on our own without entering into a tie-up with any other party," he said.
BJP-SAD Seat Sharing Talks On | In Haryana, the BJP had come to power for the first time in 2014. The ruling BJP has set a target of winning 75 plus seats in the 90-member assembly. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which has joined hands with BJP for the Lok Sabha elections, declared it would go solo in the state elections if seat-sharing talks with the BJP failed. Meanwhile, the Congress on Friday set up an election manifesto committee for the polls, with Kiran Choudhry as its chairperson.
BJP Faces Cong-NCP Alliance in Maharashtra | In the last Maharashtra Assembly elections, the Congress lost its government and the BJP came into power in alliance with the Shiv Sena. This time, Congress has formed an alliance with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party. BJP had managed to decimate the Congress and Om Prakash Chautala's INLD.