25 percent voting in six hours in Maharashtra (Lead)

April 23rd, 2009 - 4:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Mumbai, April 23 (IANS) Nearly 25 percent of the electorate had cast their votes by 1 p.m. Thursday as polling proceeded peacefully in 25 parliamentary constituencies in Maharashtra, an election official said.
“The average voting was 14.4 percent till 11 a.m. and a little above 25 percent by 1 p.m. There have been no reports of any untoward incident from any part of the state during polling,” said the official.

Around 37.7 million (3.77 crore) voters are eligible to exercise their franchise to elect 25 MPs from 372 candidates, including 20 women.

This morning, central ministers Sharad Pawar, A.R. Antulay and Sushilkumar Shinde cast their votes in Baramati, Raigad and Solapur respectively.

Pawar is contesting from Madha constituency, around 120 km from his stronghold Baramati, where his daughter Supriya Sule is testing her electoral fate.

Among the major parties, the Congress is pitted directly against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in six constituencies and against the Shiv Sena in three.

Recently, the BJP withdrew Deepak Shinde, its official nominee from Sangli. It is now supporting a rebel Congressman, Ajit Ghorpade, who is a legislator from Kavathe-Mahankal.

The Congress’s ally the NCP will contest against the BJP and Shiv Sena in seven constituencies each.

The NCP’s Sameer Bhujbal, nephew of Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, is contesting from Nashik.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has put up candidates in all the 25 constituencies, while the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has put up candidates in Jalna and Pune.

In coastal Konkan region’s Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency, State Industries minister Narayan Rane’s son Nilesh Rane, contesting on a Congress ticket, will attempt to break the stranglehold of veteran Shiv Sena leader Suresh Prabhu.

The constituencies where polling was underway Thursday are Nandurbar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Raver, Jalna, Aurangabad, Dindori, Nashik, Raigad, Maval, Pune, Baramati, Shirur, Ahmednagar, Shirdi, Beed, Latur, Osmanabad, Solapur, Madha, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Hatknangle and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg.

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