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Maharashtra Elections


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Campaign for Maharashtra Assembly polls ends

Sunday, October 11, 2009 04:39:58 PM, UNI

Elections for 288 seats in Maharashtra is scheduled for October 13, 2009

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  Fight for a share of Marathi vote

Mumbai: Campaigning for the Maharashtra Assembly elections, to be held on October 13, came to an end this evening with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rounding off the Congress electioneering in this commercial capital of the country.


As many as 3,536 candidates, including President Pratibha Patil's son Rajendra Shekhawat, are in the fray. Party-wise, Congress has fielded 172 candidates, while its ally NCP is contesting on 114 seats, leaving two constituencies for the RPI (Gavai) group.


The Shiv Sena-BJP combine settled for 169:119 formula, whereas the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has pitted 125 candidates.


Barring some sporadic incidents, the campaign in 288 constituencies passed of peacefully, while 17 policemen were killed in a Naxalite ambush in Gadchiroli in Vidarbha region. Stray incidents of attacks on candidates and scuffle between political parties were reported in Thane, Kalyan and Akkalkot.


In Akkalkot, a BJP activist was killed in a firing incident, in which the party blamed the involvement of Congress candidate and state Minister Siddharam Mhetre.


Also, Shiv Sena Vadgaon Sheri seat candidate Ajay Bhosale escaped unhurt, while his friend and driver have received bullet injuries when an unidentified person fired at them when they were campaigning in Wadgaon Sheri area in Pune today.


In another incident in Solapur yesterday, Hanumant Bagal, a kin of NCP Karmala candidate Shyamal Bagal, received bullet injuries when an unidentified person fired at them when they were returning home in Karmala taluka.


The campaigning was also marred for a brief period initially by torrential rains that led to postponement and cancellation of meetings to be addressed by Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi, BJP president Rajnath Singh and others. Ms Gandhi, who toured the state for three days in different phases, had a last meeting in Mumbai yesterday. In Pune, the fear of Swine flu also had an impact on the electioneering.


Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray and Singh led the campaign for the saffron alliance, for which Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha L K Advani, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart in Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan addressed the rallies.


Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray also appealed to the people to stand united by the party, in a recorded CD that was played at the meeting at Shiv Park yesterday. While the Congress-NCP appealed to the people to vote them to power for the sake of development, accusing the opposition of engaging in divisive politics, the Sena-BJP played the issues of power shortage, farmer suicide and unemployment, while claiming to be the original saviour of Marathi people.


MNS chief Raj Thackeray, on the other hand, focused entirely on Marathi ''Manoos'', raking up the issues of migrants, priority for Maharashtrians in employment, free houses for police personnel and government officials.









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