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Voting in 8 LS constituencies in Maharashtra on Friday in 2nd phase; Sena versus Sena in 3 seats

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Mumbai, Apr 25 (PTI) Eight seats in Maharashtra will go to polls on Friday in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections where 1.49 crore voters from the state can cast their ballot to seal the fate of 204 candidates.

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Voting will be held in Buldhana, Akola, Amravati, Wardha and Yavatmal-Washim seats in the west Vidarbha region and Hingoli, Nanded and Parbhani constituencies in Marathwada from 7 am to 6 pm across 16,589 polling centres, officials said.

Of these seats, Buldhana, Yavatmal-Washim and Hingoli will see direct contests between the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and the Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena (UBT).

A total of 1.49 crore eligible voters, including 77,21,374 men, 72,04,106 women, and 432 persons from the third-gender category, are eligible to exercise their franchise in these eight constituencies.

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All preparations for the smooth conduct of the elections in the eight Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra have been done, said an official on Thursday.

On April 19, five seats in east Vidarbha – Nagpur, Ramtek, Chandrapur, Bhandara-Gondia and Gadchiroli-Chimur – went to polls, registering a voter turnout of 63.70 per cent.

Of the 204 candidates in the fray, there are 21 in Buldhana, 15 in Akola, 37 in Amravati, 24 in Wardha, 17 in Yavatmal-Washim, 33 in Hingoli, 23 in Nanded, and 34 contestants in Parbhani.

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The undivided Shiv Sena had contested the last general elections in the state in alliance with the BJP. It split in 2022 after Shinde led a rebellion, sunk the then Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and sided with the BJP to become the CM.

In Buldhana, sitting Shiv Sena MP Prataprao Jadhav faces off with Narendra Khedekar of Sena (UBT).

The Shiv Sena has nominated Rajashri Patil in Yavatmal-Washim, dropping sitting MP Bhavana Gawli. Patil is pitted against Sanjay Deshmukh of the Thackeray-led party.

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In Hingoli, Rajashtri Patil's husband and sitting MP Hemant Patil was replaced by the Shiv Sena, which gave the ticket to Baburao Kohalikar. The Sena nominee is contesting against Nagesh Patil Ashtikar of Sena (UBT).

Mahadev Jankar of Rashtriya Samaj Paksha is contesting against sitting MP Sanjay Jadhav, nominated by the Shiv Sena (UBT).

Jankar has been backed by the ruling Mahayuti alliance, comprising BJP, Shiv Shinde Sena and Ajit Pawar-led NCP.

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Dr B R Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar, who heads the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), has fielded candidates in seven seats, including himself from Akola. His brother Anandraj Ambedkar is in the fray in Amravati as a Republican Sena nominee.

In Akola, the contest is between Anup Dhotre of BJP and Abhay Patil of Congress, with Prakash Ambedkar as the third candidate.

Amravati will see a fight between sitting MP Navneet Rana, now contesting as a BJP nominee, against Balwant Wankhede of Congress. Dinesh Bub is the Prahar Janshakti Party candidate. The Prahar party, which has two legislators in the assembly, is an ally of the ruling coalition.

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Wardha will see a fight between former Congress MLA Amar Kale, contesting on the symbol of the NCP (Sharadchandra Pawar) – “a man blowing turha” (a traditional trumpet) – against sitting BJP MP Ramdas Tadas.

In Nanded, sitting MP Pratap Chikhalikar of the BJP is up against Congress nominee Vasant Chavan.

Maharashtra, which has 48 Lok Sabha seats, the second highest after Uttar Pradesh, will vote in five phases between April 19 and May 20. PTI MR NR

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