LS polls: BJP hails, MVA flays 5-phased Maharashtra elections

Mumbai:  The ruling ally in Maharashtra, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Saturday welcomed the poll schedules of the Election Commission (EC), saying it was ready for the poll-battles starting from April 19 till May 20.

However, opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) leaders of Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (SP)-Shiv Sena (UBT) have criticised the EC for spreading the polls in five phases for over a month, submitting it could have been a shorter election schedule.

Maharashtra unit BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule said that his party is “absolutely prepared for the elections which should be contested in a sporting atmosphere, without any ill-feelings towards anybody. “We as the leading party will ensure that there is no flouting of the EC rules or breaking the Model Code of Conduct, or building any situation leading to negative sentiments and hatred anywhere in the state. Our target is to win 45-plus seats in the state and 400-plus in the country to re-elect Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Bawankule said.

In a strong reaction, Congress President Nana Patole said the five-phased elections in Maharashtra is only intended to give an advantage to the BJP which broke up two major state parties – the Shiv Sena and the NCP – in the past two years using ‘khokha’ (slang for crore rupees) power, and formed the government by deceit.

“It is clear that the EC is giving the BJP more time to canvass for votes as they have lost public support here… However, the masses will vote them out,” said Patole. Nationalist Congress Party (SP) state President Jayant Patil questioned the need for multiple-phased national elections and an unprecedented five-phased election schedule in Maharashtra starting from April 19.

“There was no need for seven phases in the country. Similarly, why is it spread in five phases even in Maharashtra, with huge gaps between two phases?” questioned Patil.

Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut questioned whether the elections shall be free and fair with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), as claimed by the EC.

Raut said that the people have lost all faith in the EVMs, and asked “5-phased elections are for whose benefit”?

NCP National Spokesperson Clyde Crasto also took a potshot at the lengthy poll schedule, saying: “Lok Sabha elections in 7 phases in India, 5 phases in Maharashtra. What is the BJP trying to dp? Is it the fear of EVMs?”

Meanwhile, BJP leader Bawankule said: “Given the defeatist mentality of the Opposition and the vivacity among all the BJP workers, this time too, the NDA and BJP led by PM Modi will return to power in a hat-trick.”


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