Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has topped the list of political leaders, who held maximum number of public rallies for the Lok Sabha elections in the state. While Fadnavis addressed as many as 87 rallies for the BJP-Shiv Sena across Maharashtra, NCP leader Dhanajay Munde ranks second with his 80 public meetings.
While both Fadnavis and Munde are in their forties, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, who is 79 years old, ranks third as he addressed 78 political rallies in the state, which sends 48 members to the Lok Sabha. While polling for three out of four phases in Maharashtra has already got over, the fourth and final phase will be held on Monday. Fadnavis not only addressed rallies for the BJP candidates, but also canvassed for ally Shiv Sena's nominees. He also held talks with voters and prominent people in the respective regions. Besides, the chief minister was present at all the nine rallies addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Maharashtra.
While addressing a rally in North Maharashtra, Modi even praised Fadnavis saying, "You don't have to follow the protocol and attend every rally that I address. But I have seen you attending every rally of mine in Maharashtra." A BJP leader said, "Fadnavis addressed as many as 87 rallies in Maharashtra. He had prepared a plan of holding of holding at least one rally in every Lok sabha constituency and he managed to do it." "Fadnavis even addressed one rally in Vadodara and he is likely to address a few rallies in Uttar Pradesh as well once polling in Maharashtra gets over on Monday," he added. Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray held 24 rallies in Maharashtra.
However, all his meetings were only for the Sena candidates. He did not address even a single rally for those contesting on BJP ticket. Thackeray also shared the dais with the prime minister in two rallies. The BJP and the Sena are contesting 25 and 23 seats respectively. An NCP leader said, "It is interesting to note that instead of a Congress leader, it was Dhananjay Munde of the NCP, who held maximum rallies after Fadnavis. He addressed 80 rallies across 21 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, mainly in the rural parts of the state."
Former Union minister Sharad Pawar campaigned for both NCP and Congress candidates and also held meetings with NCP workers and local key persons, where he appealed them to vote, another BJP leader said. "Pawar planned his rallies as per the geographical proximity of constituencies. He held public meetings accordingly and used the helicopter service extensively," an NCP leader. BJP national chief Amit Shah held four public meetings in the state, but his other rallies got cancelled at the last moment.
Interestingly, MNS chief Raj Thackeray addressed eight rallies in different parts of Maharashtra, although his party is not contesting the general election this time. In his speeches, Thackeray lashed out at Modi, Shah and the policies of the BJP-led government, including demonetisation and GST. During the rallies, the MNS chief showed videos of sharp contrast of old promises made and the delivery, which became the talk of the town.