The stage is set for the Oct 13 assembly elections in Maharashtra where the ruling Congress-led alliance faces a stiff challenge from the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine for the control of one of India’s most industrialized states.
In this year’s Lok Sabha elections, the MNS undercut the Shiv Sena and BJP in at least 10 Lok Sabha constituencies.
The elections will be a credibility test for Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who took charge of Maharashtra after the November 2008 terror attack on Mumbai.
For Shiv Sena’s Udhav Thackeray, this is the first assembly election in which he will compete less with the ruling combine than his own estranged cousin Raj Thackeray.
A total of 3,559 candidates, including 211 women, are in the fray. There will be over 84,000 polling booths.