Mumbai, March 25 (IANS) Several political starlwarts across all parties including Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir and others filed their nominations for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 11, on Monday.
Seven constituencies -- Wardha, Gadchiroli-Chimur, Ramtek, Nagpur, Bhandara-Gondiya, Chandrapur, Yavatmal-Washim -- shall go to polls on April 11 in the first of the four-phased elections in the state.
Accompanied by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other senior leaders from both Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena, Gadkari filed his nomination papers in Nagpur -- his home town.
"I am overwhelmed by the response from the ordinary Nagpur citzens and the party workers. I am confident that I shall win with a record margin and strengthen the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Gadkari said in his brief comments later.
Trailed by a large number of his supporters from both parties, BJP's Ahir filed his nominations from the Chandrapur constituency.
Former Shiv Sena legislator Suresh Dhanorkar, who recently defected to the Congress, filed his nominations for the Chandrapur seat. He was a last-minute nominee after the party on Sunday hacked the name of Vinayak Bangade following huge opposition.
Former Union Minister and ex-Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde filed his nominations from Solapur, while former state Congress President Manikrao Thakre filed his papers from Yavatmal-Washim.
Accompanied by over 200,000 supporters, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi chief Prakash Ambedkar filed his nominations from Solapur and Akola constituencies and vowed he would bag both seats with a huge majority.
Elsewhere, in Nanded, Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan, accompanied by a large number of party workers and family members submitted his nomination papers.
Shiv Sena MLA from Loha -- Pratap Patil-Chikhalikar, who is an arch political rival of Chavan, is likely to submit his papers for the same (Nanded) constituency as a BJP nominee, the party which he's expected to join shortly.
In return, the BJP is likely to let go its sitting MP from Palghar, Rajendra Gavit, who will join Shiv Sena and file his nominations for the seat which he won on a BJP ticket last year in a by-election.
In such an eventuality, it is not clear what will be the fate of Shiv Sena's candidate-in-waiting, Shrinivas Vanaga, who lost to the BJP's Gavit by a narrow margin in 2018.