Modi and Shah finalize candidates for Haryana, Maharashtra elections
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah met on Sunday to finalize the candidates for upcoming assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra. The important meeting, held at Delhi headquarters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was attended by several leaders, including Working President JP Nadda and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. As per reports, the first list of candidates will be released on Monday.
Elections will be held in single phase in both states
Both states, currently governed by BJP, will go to polls on October 21. The results will be announced three days later, on October 24. The last date of filing nomination is October 4, so it was hardly surprising when PM Modi got back to the business of selecting candidates soon after he returned from a week-long trip to the US.
Apparently, Sena and BJP have finally ironed out their differences
For days now, BJP and Shiv Sena have been struggling to come up with a seat-sharing arrangement for Maharashtra assembly, which has 288 members. At one point, Sena's Sanjay Raut went as far as calling the negotiations more "tedious" than India's partition. Both the parties had ended their alliance before 2014 polls, only to get back together after BJP fell short of a majority.
Reportedly, Sena got 126 seats, BJP 144
According to NDTV, Sena, led by Uddhav Thackeray, has agreed to field candidates from 126 seats. BJP will get a larger chunk, i.e., 144 seats and 18 seats have been left for smaller allies. Notably, Uddhav's son Aaditya will be fighting polls from Worli assembly constituency in Mumbai, Sena announced on Sunday. With this, Aaditya has become the "first" Thackeray to contest elections.
Aaditya will contest polls from "easy" constituency Worli
About Aaditya's poll debut, a source told PTI, "Worli is considered one of the safest constituencies for the Sena, hence Aaditya's candidature has been finalized. Former NCP leader Sachin Ahir had recently joined the Sena, which will make Thackeray's win easy."
Separately, star-wrestlers might be fielded from Haryana
Meanwhile, in Haryana, incumbent Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is expected to contest from Karnal. Notably, Haryana nestles 90 assembly seats. The new batch of BJP members, namely wrestlers Yogeshwar Dutt and Babita Phogat, and former hockey captain Sandeep Singh, are also expected to fight polls. Reports suggest Dutt, who has been a fan of BJP's schemes, is likely to be fielded from Sonepat.
Will BJP return to power in Maharashtra and Haryana?
Interestingly, Chief Ministers Khattar and Devendra Fadnavis will remain the faces of BJP. The saffron party hopes to return to power riding on "Modi wave", the historic move to abrogate Article 370 in August and the "achievements" of the Centre. Further, 32 assembly seats, spanned across 13 states, will also go to polls. BJP gave a ticket to former Congress member Alpesh Thakor too.