Political Campaigning for assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and for the bypolls in several states ended on Saturday evening with political parties going all out to woo the voters. On the last day of campaigning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi campainged in Haryana and sharpened his attack on the opposition Congress over issues of Article 370 and the Kartarpur corridor, accusing it of “destroying the country” with wrong policies and strategy.Raising the issue of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, Modi said what was called a temporary provision by B R Ambedkar, continued for over 70 years but the Congress did nothing about it.The main contest in Haryana is seen between the BJP, Congress and the Jannayak Janata Party. However, CM Khattar claimed that the opposition was in disarray and the BJP has no direct contest with any party.Union Home Minister and BJP chief Amit Shah led the charge in Maharashtra where he dared Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to declare that his party will restore provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir if voted to power.
The BJP is contesting 150 seats in 288-member Maharashtra Assembly while its ally Shiv Sena has fielded candidates in 124 candidates. The remaining seats have been left for other allies. Congress is contesting the Maharashtra Assembly election in alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra.
Power-packed roadshows and whirlwind rallies by the political heavyweights in Maharashtra marked the last day of campaigning. The most notable among the roadshows was the one by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who is contesting from Nagpur South-West assembly constituency.
In a massive show of strength, Devendra Fadnavis along with his wife Amruta Fadnavis and others took out a roadshow on a “rath” from Mate Square to Deen Dayal Nagar in Nagpur. Nagpur South-West is a crucial constituency from the prestige as well as the contesting candidate point of view. Devendra Fadnavis claimed that he would return with a thumping majority. He also addressed rallies in Bhandara and Chandrapur.
Devendra Fadnavis during a road show in Nagpur. (Photo: PTI)
Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, contesting his maiden election, too, campaigned aggressively in Mumbai. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray addressed several rallies across the state and spoke of Article 370 and Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
Another notable last day tour was that of Amit Shah who addressed election rallies in Navapur in Nandurbar, and Akole and Karjat Jamkhed in Ahmednagar. BJP working president JP Nadda, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, too, addressed rallies in Maharashtra. Yogi Adityanath addressed rallies in Malad and Kalyan.
While much of the Congress’s campaign has been touted as “dull” by many, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar’s rally in Satara wherein he braved heavy rains and addressed the people remained a talking point among political circles. Sharad Pawar addressed four rallies in Bhor, Karjat Jamkhed, Indapur and Baramati, his hometown.
Experts have pointed out that barring a few rallies by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wherein he highlighted issues like economic slowdown, ill-effects of demonetisation and GST rollout and unemployment, the Congress campaign didn’t see much impact on the ground. On the other hand, BJP not only had its top brass on the ground, PM Modi himself aggressively campaigned for the assembly polls, targeting the Congress and the NCP on the issues of their opposition to abrogation of provisions under Article 370 and alleged corruption during the Congress-NCP regime in the state.
In 2014, the BJP had bagged 47 seats and has now fixed a target of winning 75 seats. The Congress and the INLD, which won 15 and 19 seats, respectively, are leaving no stone unturned as well. Both the parties have made attractive promises in their respective poll manifestos.