Thane: This district on Mumbai`s outskirts, which has been a bastion of Shiv Sena-BJP, is set to play a key role in the formation of next government in Maharashtra after the October 13 Assembly elections.
Post-delimitation, number of Lok Sabha seats in this region, a mix of tribal and urban areas, rose to four from two, while Assembly segments almost doubled, from 13 to 24.
There are 281 candidates in the fray in the 24 Assembly constituencies, while the presence of rebels from all major political parties has muddied the poll scene.
The Lok Sabha elections saw the Shiv Sena-BJP suffer a major setback in the urban regions, their strongholds. Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) gave a tough fight to Sena in Thane city.
The fledgling outfit, contesting its first major election, had established lead in Bhiwandi Rural and Kalyan West Assembly segments under Bhiwandi Lok Sabha seat.
Sena could retain only Kalyan losing Thane to the NCP. Bahujan Vikas Agadhi got Palghar, while Congress won Bhiwandi.
As per Lok Sabha poll trends, Sena was leading in five Assembly seats, BJP and Congress in three each and NCP seven.
However, political observers say the saffron combine is likely to recover some lost ground due to faulty ticket distribution by the Congress.