Though polling in Maharashtra is scheduled to begin from Thursday, rivals Shiv Sena and the MNS, for whom both the road ahead would depend a lot on the outcome of this election, are yet to publish their election manifestos. On April 10, voters in 10 constituencies in Vidarbha will exercise their franchise; the second phase of polling in the state is on April 17 and the third on 24th.
The manifestos of Congress and the AAP are already out. And though the BJP published its document on Monday, state party leaders said they were planning a 'supplementary manifesto' for Maharashtra covering local issues and problems. "This is expected to be unveiled in four-five days. But voting in Vidarbha will be completed by then, however, our candidates there have come out with their own supplementary manifestos at the local level," said a BJP leader.
"We are deciding (on the manifesto)," said Shiv Sena group leader in the state assembly Subhash Desai, who is among those taking part in the exercise. He said the work had been delayed because leaders of the five-party 'Mahayuti', headed by Shiv Sena and BJP, were busy campaigning. Desai, who represents Goregaon in the assembly, said they would try and unveil the manifesto by April 10.
"We want a complete change in the system. We have been moving around in Maharashtra and found people fed up with the Congress-NCP government. Regardless of manifestos or promises, the people will boot out the Congress," said a Shiv Sena leader. Sena, which has a quota of 22 of the 48 seats in the state, is contesting in only 20, having left two—Satara and Hatkanangale—to its allies, RPI (Athavale) and Swabhimaani Paksha, respectively. BJP, which is contesting in 25, have given one, Madha, to Swabhimaani Paksha.
For the estranged cousins, Uddhav and Raj, this Lok Sabha poll, the first elections after the death of Sena chief Bal Thackeray, is very crucial.
On its part, the MNS, which claims to be working on a 'blueprint' for the state's development, said they too were in the process of bringing out a manifesto. "We are working on it. We will try and unveil it before April 10."
MNS has put up a candidate in Vidarbha—Raju Patil Raje from Yavatmal-Washim, where Sena's incumbent Lok Sabha MP, Bhawana Gawli, is pitted against social welfare minister Shivajirao Moghe. The party is contesting in 10 seats in the state, and is supporting Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) in two segments—Maval and Raigad.