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Lok Sabha polls: Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena likely to get Thane seat, announcement expected soon

Thane: The Mahayuti of the BJP, the Shiv Sena and the NCP appears to have ironed out the creases in their alliance in Maharashtra. Sources have told ANI that the Yuti will now see a candidate from Eknath Shinde's Shiv Sena contest from the prestigious Thane Lok Sabha seat. The BJP leadership on Tuesday cleared this seat for the Sena and a formal announcement of the same is expected soon.
Sources say that winning ability of a candidate from the Shiv Sena was a key criterion in leaving the seat for them. The Thane Lok Sabha seat comprises of 6 assembly constituencies; Mira Bhayandar, Kopri-Pachpakhadi, Ovala-Majiwada, Thane, Airoli and Belapur.
The Yuti alliance feels that with the seat being a Marathi voter dominant seat the Sena is assured of a thumping victory. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde himself is an MLA from the Kopri-Pachpakhadi seat and wields considerable influence in the area that was once dominated by his mentor the late Anant Dighe.
Additionally, the Sena also holds the Ovala-Majiwada assembly seat, while Eknath Shinde's son Shrikant Shinde is the MP from the neighbouring seat of Kalyan. The other four assemblies in Thane Lok Sabha seat are held by the BJP.
The declaration of the candidate is expected on Wednesday. Sources say the BJP central leadership has asked the state leadership to rein in possible claimants for the Thane Lok Sabha seat. Recently incumbent Thane BJP MLA Sanjay Kelkar had been spoken of as a possible claimant to the seat.
From the Eknath Shinde Shiv Sena, Ovala MLA Pratap Sarnaik and party spokesperson Naresh Mhaske have been touted as front runners for the candidature of the party.
The Thane Lok Sabha seat is currently held by three-time MP Rajan Vichare who is with the UBT Shiv Sena. Vichare has been named the candidate for the seat again and has already been campaigning vigorously. Vichare however battles severe anti-incumbency along with the loss of several cadres from the region who earlier this month pledged loyalty to Eknath Shinde.
In 2019, UBT Sena's Rajan Vichare who then fought as a candidate of the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance won with 740969 votes. The runner up was Anand Paranjpe of NCP. The margin of victory was 412145 votes.
The Thane Lok Sabha seat goes to the Polls on May 20 in Phase 5 of the elections. The results of the elections are on June 4.
Maharashtra has 48 Lok Sabha seats, the second-largest after Uttar Pradesh. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 23 out of 25 seats it contested in alliance with the undivided Shiv Sena.Elections to the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra will be held in five phases on April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13, and May 20. 

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