Polling begins peacefully in Maharashtra

October 13th, 2009 - 8:39 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Mumbai, Oct 13 (IANS) Polling for the Maharashtra assembly elections began peacefully amidst tight security Tuesday morning, an election official said.
Early risers turned up to vote in several parts of the state, including the towns and villages bordering the pristine beaches of coastal Konkan, the misty mountainous regions of western Maharashtra, the plains of Marathwada and North Maharashtra and the dense Maoist-infested jungles in eastern parts of the state.

Nearly 7.60 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in 84,136 polling stations across the state to elect 288 representatives from 3,559 contenders, including 211 women.

While 8 mainstream, recognised parties are in the fray, the others include small, regional groups and independents - including many rebels, challenging the prospects of official candidates.

In the previous elections (2004), the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party had won 139 seats while the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (SS-BJP) secured 119 seats and the rest, including independents bagged 30 seats.

Among the most eagerly watched seats would be Amravati where Rajendrasingh Shekhawat, son of President Pratibha Patil is contesting against a prominent Congress rebel and a farmer’s widow Bebitai Bai, from Wani in Yavatmal - both in east Maharashtra.

In Western Maharashtra, an interesting contest is taking place in Osmanabad where Jagjitsinh Patil of NCP is pitted against Shiv Sena’s Omraje Nimbalkar. Patil is the son of NCP MP Padamsinh Patil, accused of killing a Congress leader Pavanraje Nimbalkar, whose son, Omraje is now contesting the same seat on a Sena ticket.

Besides, Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s daughter Praniti is contesting from Solapur, while Heavy Industries Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s son Amit is standing from Latur.

There are kith and kin of many other political leaders, ministers, MPs, legislators, etc, in the state. There are 64 candidates, including 7 in Mumbai, who have been shown as absolutely “penniless” as per their affidavits filed with the EC.

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