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Absence of wave gives BJP-Sena a scare in first phase of polling in Vidarbha

Friday, April 12, 2019
By A Special Correspondent

The absence of any popular wave in seven Lok Sabha constituencies of Vidarbha region that went to polls yesterday is more likely to give a scare to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena alliance. The tentative polling percentages officially released by the Election Commission of India (ECI) here underscore the absence of any popular wave as was witnessed in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections here. The below par voter turn out is bound to give Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur) and Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir (Chandrapur) a scare as they try to retain their respective seats.

As per the tentative polling percentages (till 5.30 pm) officially announced by the ECI, the voting percentage in Wardha Lok Sabha constituency was 55.36 percent, in Ramtek (SC) it was 51.72 percent, Nagpur it was 53.13 percent, Bhandara-Gondiya 60.50 percent, Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST) 61.33 percent, Chandrapur 55.97 percent and Yavatmal-Washim 53.97 percent. According to sources in the ECI the overall tentative polling percentage in all these seven constituencies could touch the 55.97 percent mark.

According to ECIs Chief Electoral Officer for Maharashtra, Ashwani Kumar polling could not be conducted in four polling stations in Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST) Lok Sabha constituency as polling parties could not reach those polling stations in the heavily naxal affected region. The ECI will go for a re-polling in these four polling stations later on during the remaining three phases of polling on April 18, April 23 and April 29.

Out of the seven Lok Sabha seats the BJP holds Wardha, Nagpur, Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST) and Chandrapur. The Sena currently holds Ramtek (SC) and Yavatmal-Washim. While the NCP had won the Bhandara-Gondiya constituency in the Lok Sabha bypoll of May 2018.

The scare for the BJP-Sena is because the polling percentage when compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha polling percentage the polling percentage in the first phase of polling in the seven Lok Sabha constituencies yesterday. Comparatively the polling percentage in these seven constituencies in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was – Wardha 64.79 percent, Ramtek (SC) 62.64 percent, Nagpur 57.12 percent, Bhandara-Gondiya 72.31 percent, Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST) 70.04 percent, Chandrapur 63.29 percent and Yavatmal-Washim 58.87 percent. While the comparative polling percentage in these seven constituencies in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections was – Wardha 54.60 percent, Ramtek (SC) 50.89 percent, Nagpur 43.46 percent, Bhandara-Gondiya 71.23 percent, Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST) 65.19 percent, Chandrapur 58.54 percent and Yavatmal-Washim 54.07 percent.

Given the below par voter turn out yesterday, the ruling BJP-Sena will find it difficult to retain the six of the seven seats that it currently holds. In Wardha Lok Sabha constituency, it is a straight contest between BJPs sitting MP Ramdas Tadas and Charulata Tokas (Congress), In Ramtek (SC) constituency it is a direct contest between sitting Sena MP Krupal Tumane and Kishor Gajbhiye (Congress. In Nagpur constituency it is a straight contest between sitting BJP MP and Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari and Nana Patole (Congress).  

In Bhandara-Gondiya constituency, it is a direct contest between BJPs Sunil Mendhe and Nana Panchabudhe (NCP). In Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST) it is a straight contest between sitting BJP MP Ashok Nete and Dr Namdev Usendi (Congress). In Chandrapur constituency it is a direct contest between BJPs Union MoS for Home Hansraj Ahir and Suresh Dhanorkar (Congress) and in Yavatmal-Washim constituency it is a straight contest between sitting Shiv Sena MP Bhavana Gawli and Manikrao Thakare (Congress).

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