The heat is on in Maharashtra and it’s not just because of the rising temperature.
Voting for 201 seats in three municipal corporations – Latur, Parbhani and Chandrapur – in Maharashtra started at 7.30am on Wednesday.
While the Congress has a majority in the Latur municipal corporation, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) control Parbhani and Chandrapur civic bodies, respectively.
The BJP is aiming to gain control over the Latur and Parbhani civic bodies.
Around 7.93 lakh voters will cast their vote which will decide the future of the 1,285 candidates in the fray.
The results of the elections in all these corporations will be declared on April 21.
The state election commission (SEC) has extended the deadline for voting by 1 hour in the wake of the rise in temperature in the cities going to polls.
The SEC has ordered arrangement of drinking water and shades at all 1,019 polling booths in the three corporations.
State election commissioner JS Saharia said the commission has tried to put in place facilities such as ambulances and ramp and wheelchairs for the physically challenged at all polling booths.
After Congress lost its control over the district council to BJP in the recent elections, the latter is using all its might to win the urban civic body .
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, union transport minister Nitin Gadkari and party spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain held rallies and wooed voters with promises of quality roads and drinking water.
Latur has sizable population of Muslims, Dalits and Lingayat voters.
The entry of AIMIM is likely to eat into Congress’ votes.
The Congress has 49 sitting corporators in the 70-member body, while the BJP has no corporator in the outgoing civic body.
In Parbhani, the BJP has hardly any presence as the party has no powerful leader in the district.
Woman and child welfare minister Pankaja Munde, who hails from neighbouring Beed, has been ask to spearhead the Parbhani election, as the corporation jurisdiction has sizable voters from the Wanjari community to which Munde belongs.
The BJP got its mayor in the Chandrapur municipal corporation two years ago, after 11 Congress corporators defected to the BJP, who staked claim to the post.
The municipal corporation was set up in 2011 and went to polls in 2012.
While the Congress won 26 seats, BJP stood second with 18 seats.
Despite internal rumblings,the BJP looks confident about a triumph, after its impressive victory in the recent district council elections.
State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and union minister Hansraj Ahir are leading the party in the district, while factional fights within the party has weakened the Congress.
- Latur (70 seats): BJP (0), Shiv Sena (6), NCP (13), Congress (49)
- Parbhani (65 seats): BJP (2), Shiv Sena (8), NCP (30), Congress (23)
- Chandrapur (66 seats): BJP (18), Shiv Sena (5), NCP (4), Congress (26)