Finally, campaigning for the 10 municipal elections in the state concluded on Tuesday evening. The campaigning which started on a steady note reached its peak in last three days marked by allegations and counter allegations.
The most significant part of this campaign trail was the Shiv Sena chief’s entry into the arena, who addressed rallies in Mumbai and Thane.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan led the Congress brigade in attacking the opposition in an attempt to bag a majority in the 10 civic bodies. He was lent support by Industries Minister Narayan Rane, state Congress chief Manikrao Thakre, Gurudas Kamat and others.
Similarly, for the BJP state unit chief Sudhir Mungantiwar and leaders of opposition in the legislature EknathKhadse (Assembly) and Vinod Tawde (Council) engaged in shooting verbal darts at the ruling duo, the Congress, its ally the NCP, and at times even the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena of Raj Thackeray.
The NCP saw its chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar making a few appearances, and his nephew and Dy CM Ajit Pawar, Home Minister R.R. Patil and other top leaders strongly campaigning to woo the voters.
The war of words that fascinated the electorate concerned the Thackeray trio Bal Thackeray, his son Uddhav and estranged nephew Raj. The two senior Thackerays never missed any opportunity to hit out at the younger Raj, who is making efforts to improve the MNS’ tally and, despite a handful of seats, emerge as a kingmaker after the election results. This verbal scuffle was the centre of the attraction and drawn the attention of the entire state.
The stage is set for the Thursday’s elections for 1,244 seats in Mumbai, Thane, Ulhasnagar, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Solapur, Nashik, Akola, Amravati and Nagpur municipal corporations, that together have an electorate of over 3.5 crore. The counting of the votes will begin on Friday.