With days left for the Maharashtra assembly polls, the Congress on Thursday has fielded former BJP MLA Ashish Deshmukh as its candidate from the Nagpur South West seat against Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The name of Deshmukh, who is a strong supporter of the demand for a separate state of Vidarbha, was announced in the list of 19 candidates finalised on Thursday night. His father Ranjit Deshmukh (former Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief and a state minister) was defeated by Fadnavis from Nagpur West constituency in the 2004 assembly election. Ashish Deshmukh was elected from the Katol Assembly seat from BJP in year 2014. However, he resigned from the saffron party in October last year. Deshmukh and Fandavis will file their nomination papers in Nagpur on Friday.
Maharashtra which has 288 Assembly seats will go to polls on 21 October 2019, the Election Commission announced on Saturday noon. Maharashtra assembly elections will be held in a single-phase and the counting procedure would be conducted on October 24. The Election Commission chief Sunil Arora also announced that the last date of nomination is on October 4. Arora also informed that the parties in Maharashtra had wanted the polls to be concluded by Dhanteras.
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Maharashtra election alliance
While the BJP and the Shiv Sena has not yet announced the seat sharing, the NCP and the Congress will contest on equal number of seats. Currently, the BJP holds 122 seats while the Shiv Sena holds 63 seats. However, Shiv Sena and BJP have confirmed that they will contest the Maharashtra Assembly elections jointly. In 2014 elections, the Shiv Sena and the BJP had contested the assembly elections separately, as the seat-sharing talks between the two parties collapsed at the last moment. The two parties came together after the elections to form the government with BJP winning 122 seats and Shiv Sena with 63.