Mumbai: The election campaign in Chandrapur, Nagpur, Ramtek, Gadchiroli-Chimur and Bhandara-Gondia ended on Wednesday. BJP’s heavyweight leader and Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra cabinet minister Sudhir Mungtiwar among 97 candidates contesting the five seats. Officials of the state branch of Election Commission of India (ECI) said that the star campaigners and other leaders of any political parties would not be allowed to stay in five constituencies after the campaign deadline is over.

All five seats of Maharashtra will be going for polls on Friday in the first phase of elections. The poll campaign at the Gadchiroli -Chimur constituency in Gadchiroli district, which is one of the 12 Naxal affected districts in the country, ended at 3 pm on Wednesday. The poll campaigns in Nagpur, Ramtek, Bhandara-Gondia and Chandrapur ended at 6pm. Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) S. Chockalingam told this newspaper, “Silence period starts now. All political functionaries, who are not voters in these constituencies, should leave. 

Election machinery is ready with all the preparations to enable voters to cast their vote. It is time for the voters to elect their representatives.”
On the last day of campaigning in Ramtek, chief minister Eknath Shinde held a roadshow in scorching heat for his party candidate Raju Parwe. He also participated in a bike rally for the party candidate in Ramtek. 

The Congress party fielded Dr Namdeo Kirsan, a scholar in Gandhian philosophy from the

Gadchiroli–Chimur Lok Sabha constituency against the BJP’s sitting MP Ashok Nete, who has won Lok Sabha polls from the same constituency in 2014 and 2019. Senior Congress leaders Balasaheb Thorat, Vijay Wadettiwar and Rohit Pawar campaigned for Kirsan, while Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Nitin Gadkari sought votes for Nete.

The NDA and INDIA bloc had also roped in their national leaders for the campaign for the five seats. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his first poll rally in Chandrapur Lok Sabha for Mungantiwar and subsequently campaigned for the Shiv Sena candidate in Ramtek. BJP’s star campaigner and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also held rallies in Nagpur and Bhandara Godia for Mr. Gadkari and Sunil Mendhe respectively.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge held a rally in Nagpur for the party candidate Vikas Thakre, while Rahul Gandhi held a rally for the party candidate Dr.Prashant Padole in Bhandara-Gondia. The party’s star campaigner Kanhaiya Kumar and Imran Pratapgarhi also campaigned in Ramtek and Chandrapur respectively. According to the state branch of ECI, 28 candidates including 12 independent are in the fray for the Ramtek (SC) Lok Sabha seat, followed by 26 candidates including 10 independent in Nagpur, 18 candidates including 11 independent in Bhandara-Gondiya, 10 candidates including three independent in Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST), and 15 candidates including three independent candidates from the Chandrapur Lok Sabha seat.

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