About 1,054 candidates have entered the Lok Sabha fray from Maharashtra, with 229 of them joining the race on Saturday, the last day for filing nominations for the third and the final phase of polls scheduled on April 24.
Out of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, 19 will go to polls in the last phase. This includes all the six seats in Mumbai, two in Thane, one each in Raigad, Bhiwandi and Palghar, six seats in north Maharashtra and two in Marathwada.
After the nominations were filed Saturday, election officials said the total number candidates in these constituencies stood at 495. They, however, said this number could go down following scrutiny of applications and withdrawal of candidature, the last day for which is April 9.
Ten seats in the Vidharbha belt will be a part of the first phase of polling on April 10, for which 201 candidates are in the fray. For the next phase of polls on April 17, another 358 candidates will fight it out in 17 constituencies.
While an average of 22 candidates are in the fray for each of the 19 seats that go to polls in the third phase, election officials said that Marathawada’s Aurangabad seat had the highest number of candidates at 45, followed by north Maharashtra’s Raver (41).
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Three-time MP Chandrakant Khaire of the Shiv Sena will lock horns with Congress’s Nitin Patil and Aam Aadmi Party’s Subhash Lomte in Aurangabad, whereas the prestigious Raver seat is set for a straight contest between BJP’s Raksha Khadse, who is the daughter-in-law of opposition leader Eknath Khadse, and NCP’s Manish Jain.
Nandurbar Lok Sabha constituency, also in north Maharashtra, which is set for a battle between nine-time Congress MP Manikrao Gavit and BJP’s Heena Gavit, has the lowest number of candidates at 14.
In Mumbai, 27 candidates have filed nominations each in Mumbai North, Mumbai North Central and Mumbai South Central constituencies, followed by Mumbai North East (26), Mumbai South (23) and Mumbai North West (21).
To avoid any hiccups during scrutiny, main parties have got a stand-in candidate to file nomination, which is expected to be later withdrawn if things go as planned.