Sugar belt sees a high turnout
Pune: In the six prosperous districts of Western Maharashtra, about 60 per cent of eligible voters on average cast their ballots on Tuesday, according to official estimates. Voters in the 58 Assembly constituencies spread across the districts of Pune, Ahmednagar, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and Solpaur will decide the fate of several heavyweights from the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine, which has been power for the past two terms.
In Solapur, voters braved the rain, while in parts of Sangli, such as Miraj, which was torn apart by riots in August, they came out in large numbers despite tension in the air.
In Satara, Dhom villagers boycotted the polls to protest the state’s apathy towards police inspector Chandrakant Deshmukh, who was killed in a Naxalite attack in Gadchiroli.
In Pune district, voters will seal the fates of heavyweights Ajit Pawar and Dilip Walse-Patil (NCP) and Harshavardhan Patil (Congress). In Sangli, they will pronounce a verdict on Home Minister Jayant Patil, who is contesting against an Independent, and in Solapur, on Suhsilkumar Shinde’s daughter Praniti and senior NCP leader Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, who is trying his luck from Pandharpur. HTC
Sporadic violence mars polls
Thane: Stray incidents of violence were reported from parts of Thane district. Kalwa was tense early on Tuesday after a clash between Shiv Sena and NCP workers.
Three cases of unlawful assembly, criminal intimidation and voluntarily causing hurt were registered against Mumbra-Kalwa NCP candidate Jitendra Awhad and his supporters. “Awhad had brought along three women and a driver to the Kalwa police station alleging that they were following his vehicle. The women alleged that Awhad and his men had threatened them at gun point and forcefully brought them to the police station,” said deputy commissioner of police Sudhir Dabhade.
A clash broke out between Pappu Kalani’s supporters and BJP’s Kumar Ailani's supporters in Ulhasnagar. One person was injured in a clash between workers of Republican Party of India and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena at Vartaknagar.
Thane district saw a voter-turnout of 48 per cent. Vasai registered the highest voter turnout in the district with 49.07 per cent whereas Ulhasnagar saw the lowest voter turnout with only 19.83 per cent.
Peaceful polling in Navi Mumbai
Navi Mumbai: Polling in the two Navi Mumbai constituencies of Belapur and Airoli was held peacefully with a projected voter turnout of 45 per cent.
However, there was some tension in the morning, when state minister Ganesh Naik and his staunch loyalist turned foe - Shiv Sena candidate from Airoli, Vijay Chougule, came face to face in Chinchpada, considered to be Chougule's stronghold in Airoli. Naik's younger son NCP's Sandeep Naik is contesting from Airoli while Naik himself is contesting from Belapur.
The duo had heated exchanges over the presence of each other's party activists, but the police stepped in to ensure there was no untoward incident.
Deputy Commissioner of police Ashok Dudhe: “Elections in the city were held in a peaceful manner. Only in Airoli we registered a non-cognisable offence against four persons and arrested them for disturbance in the area. We ensured there was no violence."
While there were reports of a Nerul NCP corporator forcing voters inside the booth even after the expiry of the stipulated time, Dudhe said, "There was no complaint lodged by any one." Panvel, which witnessed violence in the past few days, also saw routine polling. Senior police inspector Suresh Bhosle, said: “Polling was 100 per cent peaceful.”
G. Mohiuddin Jeddy
North Maharashtra reports 54 per cent polling
North Maharashtra comprising of districts like Nashik, Jalgaon, Dhule, Nandurbar and Ahmednagar had reported a voter turnout of approximately 54 per cent. The region has 47 assembly segments.
The highest voter turnout in the region was in the tribal belt of Nandurbar and in Ahmednagar where 60 per cent of the voters exercised their franchisee. The lowest voter turnout in the region was in Dhule were 47 per cent of the voters exercised their right to cast a vote. Voting in the region was largely peaceful barring stray violent incidents.
Police had to fire in the air to disperse clashing mob of MNS and Congress workers in the cities Nanavali area. The vehicle of MNS candidate from Nashik Central Vasant Gite was also stoned during the incident.
Meanwhile in Jalgaon Congress candidate Salim Patel was involved in a scuffle with workers of the Shiv Sena. There were minor incidents of stone throwing in Nandurbar district.
North Maharashtra has witnessed the maximum communal incidents in the last 18 months. Areas like Nashik are crucial for the MNS because the party enjoys strong support among the youth there. HTC
BJP rebel confident of win from Guhagar
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from Konkan region during polling.
Meanwhile, BJP rebel and Gihagar contestant Vinay Natu seemed confident of a win. "I think 70 per cent of voting was in my favour today and I am quite confident that I will retain the seat," said Natu.
Konkan will be decisive for high profile Congress leader Narayan Rane and Maharashtra opposition leader Ramdas Kadam, who is fighting from Guhagar.
After Rane left Sena, Kadam was made Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly. However, Kadam lost his constituency to delimitation and threatened to quit the party if he wasn't given the Guhagar seat.
While Sindhudurg reported 59 per cent voting, Ratnagiri reported around 52 per cent voting and Raigad district, known for anti-SEZ agitations reported 56 per cent voting.
60 per cent voting in Vidarbha
Nagpur: Election Commission officials said that 58 to 60 percent turnout was reported in the 62 constituencies in Vidarbha, where voting was largely peaceful.
Akola reported an estimated 52 to 55 percent voting while Bhandara district recorded over 51 percent polling, official sources said.
The Congress expects to perform well in eastern Vidarbha where the BJP has been a bit stronger. In Lok Sabha polls, the Congress posted unexpectedly better results in this region, and it hopes to repeat the success. The NCP is expecting to retain the existing seats.
In Vidarbha's Amravati, the Congress rebel Dr Sunil Deshmukh is hoping for a miracle against Congress official candidate and President Pratibhatai Patil's son Rajendra Shekhawat. Several other second generation Congressmen in Vidarbha will begin their political innings in these elections.
The Sena-BJP has been influential in central and western Vidarbha.
CM, ex-CM face aicd test
Mumbai: The region that has given the state the chief minister for two terms of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party rule witnessed moderate turnout with 59 to 60 per cent voting.
Nanded--home district of Chief Minister Ashok Chavan--Latur, Aurangabad and Jalna witnessed close to 60 per cent turnout.
No major violent incidents were reported though there were several complaints of violation of code of conduct.
The Congress-NCP alliance is in direct contest with the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party in Marathwada's 46 seats.
The Sena made inroads in Marathwada through Lok Sabha polls. On the other hand, Congress stalwarts like CM Ashok Chavan, ex-CM Vilasrao Deshmukh, ex-CM Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar and ex-Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil face an acid test in the regions where they enjoy significant clout.