Mumbai: The October 15 elections for the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly will be the first in over quarter of a century when major political parties will slug it out in the poll arena sans erstwhile alliance partners.
The last time Shiv Sena and BJP fought separately was before 1989 - the year their alliance was sealed and for Congress and NCP, it was before 1999 the year the Sharad Pawar-led party was formed.
The five main parties in fray - Congress, Shiv Sena, BJP, NCP and MNS -- are vying for votes and all of them are claiming to get majority on their own, without the need of post-poll alliances.
"If the Raj Thackeray-led MNS eats into Shiv Sena votes, then there is a possibility that BJP may emerge as the single largest party, followed by Sena, Congress and NCP in the order," according to political analyst Surendra Jondhale.
"The poll campaign has just begun. Let us see how it develops. It is too early to predict an outcome at this moment," Jondhale, a professor at the Mumbai University, told PTI.
He said this election will provide each party an opportunity to expand their political base and also to identify their social base. "We will also see a demarcation of urban and rural voters, a pattern will emerge on the issues that what voters in these belts feel," he said.
Four issues -- Marathi identity, Hindutva, corruption and development -- will be the major ones around which this election would be centred, Jondhale said. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi is yet to come and address poll rallies. We will know the impact of the 'Modi wave' after he addresses public rallies," he said adding, as far as political aspirations are concerned, voters are waiting for Modi to justify and deliver on his poll promises during Lok Sabha elections.