With the assembly elections scheduled for October 21, 2019 in the states of Maharashtra and Haryana, the battleground at the state level is ready.
Both the states are known for their ever-changing political dynamics, strong party preferences and complexities that make them nothing less than a potboiler in the political scenario of India.
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Since its inception in 1960, the politics of Maharashtra has been dominated by the Indian National Congress. The grand old party considered Maharashtra as their bastion and stalwarts such as Yashwantrao Chavan, Vasantdada Patil, Vasantrao Naik, and Shankarrao Chavan, Sharad Pawar (who later broke away from the Congress), were prominent names that helmed the party on its road to success.
The Congress party enjoyed a nearly unchallenged dominance of the state political landscape, until 1995 when the coalition of Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured an overwhelming majority, beginning a period of coalition governments. After a series of collation governments, 2014 saw the return of BJP-Shiv Sena alliance to Maharashtra. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led governing coalition is aiming to retain power yet again in 2019.
As Maharashtra goes to polls, here is are some key details:
Total assembly seats: 288
Total candidates: 3239
Total no. voters: 8.9 crore
Total polling station: 96,661
No of seats each party is contesting
BJP – 164
Congress – 147
NCP – 121
Shiv Sena – 124
Richest candidate– Parag Shah of Ghatkopar East- Assets worth Rs 500.62 crores. He is the MD of Man Infra construction ltd.
Candidate with no assets– Janardan Parab has declared zero assets both movable and immovable. He is an independent candidate contesting from Charkop in Mumbai.
Maximum number of candidates in a constituency – 38 candidates from Nanded South
Minimum number of candidates in a constituency – 3 candidates from Chiplun
235 Women candidates are contesting in the assembly elections.
In 2014, the number of candidates who contested elections were 4119. A drop of approx 21% to 2019’s 3,239 candidates.
It is the first time that the state will use VVPATs for polling.
A total of 1,35,021 VVPAT machines will be used to increase transparency and live webcasting would be carried out from 9,673 polling stations in Maharashtra.
Watch out for:
Aaditya Thackeray’s political plunge – Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray is contesting from the Worli Assembly constituency in Mumbai. This makes the 29-year-old the first member of the Thackeray family to enter electoral politics.
Impact of defections – In the run-up to the election, many key opposition leaders have defected to the BJP and the Shiv Sena. Defections have happened in almost every constituency and this has left the cadre upset in many areas. This could have a major impact on the outcome in many seats.
Voter issues – Maharashtra has been centred in the midst of issues like floods, economic regression, farmer woes and lack of job opportunities. All of these can be important reasons for voters to decide which party to vote for.
The state of Haryana was formed in 1966 with the capital in Chandigarh. Nearly 1.83 crore voters are eligible to exercise their right to vote with the number of seats in the Vidhan Sabha at 90.
A total of 74 political parties are contesting the elections in 2019, nearly twice the number of parties in 2014 when 43 parties contested against each other, according to a report issued by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The main contest is seen between the ruling BJP and main opposition Congress on several seats.
Against the present Haryana CM, ML Khattar, Congress has fielded a little-known face Tarlochan Singh has been fielded.
Congress leader and two-time Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who is representing Garhi Sampla-Kiloi seat in Rohtak since 2005, is facing BJP’s Satish Nandal, who had earlier served as INLD”s district unit chief from Rohtak.
Other prominent opposition candidates include Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, Kiran Choudhary and Kuldeep Bishnoi, who are seeking re-election from Kaithal, Tosham and Adampur, respectively.
For the BJP, two wrestlers Babita Phogat (Dadri in Charkhi Dadri) and Yogeshwar Dutt (Baroda in Sonipat) and former hockey captain Sandeep Singh (Pehowa in Kurukshetra) are in the race too.
As Haryana goes to polls, here is are some key details:
Total assembly seats: 90
Total candidates: 1,168
Total no voters: 1.83 crore
Total polling stations: 10,288
No of seats each party is contesting
BJP – 90
|Shri Manohar Lal Khattar
|Bhupinder Singh Hooda
|Randeep Singh Surjewala
|Gyan Chand Gupta
|Tej Bahadur Yadav
|Ghanshyam Das Arora
Richest candidate- Ritesh Khatana (Sohna constituency) Rs 325 Crores.
Candidate with lowest asset– Manoj Singh (Adampur) RS 5000. Independent
Total number of candidates– Over 1168
104 Women candidates are contesting these upcoming elections (9%) – BJP-12, INC-9, BSP-2, INLD-15, JJP-7
117 candidates with criminal cases (10%)
Educational Qualifications– 50% of candidates have completed education from Class 5 to class 12.
43% are graduates and above.
Watch out for:
Opposition targets – the opposition parties are targeting BJP over issues like unemployment, youth, farmers, employees, water issues and alleged non-fulfilment of poll promises.
BJP’s trump card – For the ruling party, transparency in governance, zero tolerance for corruption, giving jobs on merit, achievements of state and central governments are the poll issues. The scrapping of Article 370 and the continuing Modi wave could still hold BJP in good stead.
Editor’s Note: In the previous version of the story number of women candidates in Maharashtra was mentioned 150. The error is regretted.