The BJP-Shiv Sena combine is likely to win 33 seats in Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha elections 2019, while the Congress-NCP alliance may improve its tally by bagging 15 seats, according to the News Nation national opinion poll. The figures could be a matter of concern for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Sena as it had bagged 41 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra in 2014. The BJP won 23 while 18 seats by the Sena. The Congress had won only two seats, while the NCP did a tad better by winning four.
As far as vote-sharing is concerned, the saffron parties combine is expected to get 39 per cent of the votes, while the Congress-NCP may settle with 34 per cent of the total votes, the poll predicted.
On Monday, NCP chief Sharad Pawar said he will not contest next month's Lok Sabha election. The 78-year-old veteran politician said as two members of his family are going to contest the polls, "somebody had to step back."
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the NCP chief's decision to pull out from poll fray was because he had "sensed the change in the air". "Since I have already won elections 14 times, I decided not to contest the poll (this time)," the Rajya Sabha member told reporters after holding a meeting with party leaders.
Pawar announced that his nephew and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar's son Parth Pawar will be NCP's candidate from Maval Lok Sabha constituency.
Overcoming their strained ties, the BJP and the Uddhav Thackeray-led party on February 18 announced to contest the ensuing Lok Sabha and Maharashtra assembly elections together. As per the seat-sharing agreement, the BJP will contest 25 seats and Shiv Sena 23 of 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra.
The two parties will contest an equal number of seats, after allotting allies their due share of segments, in polls for the 288-member state Assembly, due this year. BJP chief Amit Shah also acknowledged that Sena's support was crucial for his party for making a comeback to power, especially in the absence of the 2014 "wave".
At present, Sena has 18 MPs in Lok Sabha, its biggest tally since its inception. It was also conveyed to Sena that the party could claim more portfolios in the Central government if it manages to retain its current stock post elections.
Lok Sabha polls will be held in four phases in Maharashtra starting from the Vidarbha region on April 11.
At 48, Maharashtra sends the second largest number of MPs to Lok Sabha, after Uttar Pradesh which has total 80 constituencies.
The schedule for seven-phase Lok Sabha elections in the country, beginning April 11, was announced by the Election Commission in Delhi this evening. The counting of votes will be taken up on May 23.
In Maharashtra, voting will be held on April 11 for seven seats, namely Wardha, Ramtek, Nagpur, Bhandara-Gondiya, Gadchiroli-Chimur, Chandrapur and Yavatmal-Washim, all in Vidarbha region.
The seats that will vote in the second phase on April 18 are Buldana, Akola, Amravati, Hingoli, Nanded, Parbhani, Beed, Osmanabad, Latur and Solapur constituencies. Most of these seats fall under Marathwada region.
A total of 14 Lok Sabha seats will go to polls on April 23 during the third phase.
They include Jalgaon, Raver, Jalna, Aurangabad, Raigad, Pune, Baramati, Ahmednagar, Madha, Sangli, Satara, Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Kolhapur and Hatkanangle.
The final phase of polling in Maharashtra will be held on April 29 when 17 constituencies including Nandurbar, Dhule, Dindori, Nashik, Palghar, Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Thane, Mumbai North, Mumbai North-West, Mumbai North-Central, Mumbai South-Central, Mumbai South, Maval, Shirur and Shirdi will go for polls.
The total number of voters in Maharashtra, as on January 25, stood at 8,73,30,484 as against 8,07,98,823 in 2014.
The number of voters has gone up by over 65 lakh since 2014 while more than 11,000 new polling booths have been added in urban areas. Simultaneously, around 6,000 polling booths in rural areas have been cancelled.