BJP on Friday expressed confidence that it will lead the seat tally in the first phase of Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti elections in Maharashtra. Around 69 per cent voters exercised their franchise for these polls on Thursday as voting for 15 Zilla Parishads and 165 Panchayat Samitis took place. Results will be out on February 23, after the second phase of local body polls on February 21. “Considering the polling percentage and our internal reports, we are confident of gaining majority in nine of the 15 ZPs,” state BJP chief spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said.
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“People in Gadchiroli did not fall prey to the threat of Naxals and came out in large numbers to vote. This is a symbol of their support to the BJP-led government in Maharashtra,” Bhandari said. A total of 855 seats were in play for the Zilla Parishads polls on Thursday while the Panchayat Samiti polls covered 1,712 seats.
Leaders have fielded their next generation in the Zilla Parishad polls. Dheeraj Deshmukh, youngest son of former chief minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh is contesting from Latur, while Sharad Pawar’s grandson Rohit Pawar is contesting from Baramati.
Aditi Tatkare, daughter of state Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sunil Tatkare, is contesting from Raigad. The BJP is not far behind either, with state unit president Raosaheb Danve fielding his daughter from Jalna. BJP minister Babanrao Lonikar has fielded his son. In Beed district, warring Munde siblings Pankaja and Dhananjay are once again engaged in a battle for supremacy.
The second phase of ZP and panchayat samiti polls, along with the ten municipal corporations in the state, including the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), will be held on February 21.