MAHARASHTRA, in the second phase of polling in 19 constituencies, recorded 61.08 per cent average voting on Thursday. As many as 17 of the 19 constituencies saw an increased voter turnout as compared to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, with the jump being as high as 18 per cent in the Pune Lok Sabha constituency. The average voter turnout in these constituencies is 61.08 percent.
The increase is similar to that in the ten constituencies of Vidarbha that went to polls on April 10, with an overall increase of over six percent in voter turnout.
The second phase of polling in the state – being seen as a crucial phase – comprise political heavyweights in the fray such as tainted former chief minister Ashok Chavan, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, BJP leader Gopinath Munde, Supriya Sule daughter of NCP president Sharad Pawar and Nilesh Rane, son of industries minister Narayan Rane.
The constituencies that went to polls are Hingoli, Nanded, Beed, Parbhani, Osmanabad and Latur in Marathwada; Pune, Baramati, Shirur, Maval, Solapur, Madha, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur, Hathkanangale in Western Maharashtra, Shirdi, Ahmednagar in North Maharashtra and Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg in Konkan.
The highest voter turnout of 67 percent was seen in Hatkanangle where Mahayuti candidate sitting MP Raju Shetti of the Swabhimaani Shetkari Sanghatana took on Congress candidate Kalappa Aawade. The voter turnout here is marginally lower than that in 2009, when it was 67.07 percent.
The constituencies that saw the sharpest increase in voter turnout include Nanded (53.83 in 2009 to 63 per cent this time), Maval (44.71 per cent to 63.10 per cent), Pune (40.66 per cent to 53.46 per cent) Baramati (46.07 per cent to 58.20 per cent) Shirdi (from 50.37 per cent to 61 per cent) Solapur (46.62 per cent to 57 per cent) and Sangli (52.12 per cent to 62 per cent). Beed, where Munde is the sitting MP, recorded a slight decrease in turnout at 64 per cent, down from 65.60 per cent in 2009. The figures are as of 6 pm Thursday.
Of all the constituencies under phase two, the Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg seat has attracted the most attention after local NCP leaders refused to cooperate with Congress candidate Nilesh Rane. The turnout here increased from 57.39 per cent to 60 per cent.
The contest in Pune also gained attention after the MNS accused the Congress candidate Vishwajeet Kadam, son of Revenue and Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam, of distributing money to voters. Deepak Paigude of MNS is considered a strong candidate from here. The Congress also faces a tough challenge in its traditional stronghold of Sangli in Western Maharashtra.
Hingoli, the seat exchanged by Congress and NCP where Youth Congress leader Rajiv Satav is the candidate, 63 per cent polling was recorded up from 59.68 in 2009. Parbhani, too, saw a jump from 54.08 per cent to 62 per cent. Turnout in Shirur increased from 51.45 per cent to 59.50 per cent while in Ahmednagar it increased from 51.84 to 60 per cent.
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