Maharashtra could witness a free for all battle in the Lok Sabha elections if the current developments are any indications. The state has seen three Chief Ministers, three Deputy CMs, and two Assembly Speakers in the last four years, besides splits and desertions in political parties.

It is now heading for multi-cornered contests in the April-May Lok Sabha elections. The regional parties are pressing for more seats in the ruling MahaYuti (MY) and the opposition's Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA).

Prakash Ambedkar's Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) has announced that it will go solo in the electoral battle. However, the Maratha Quota agitation leader Manoj Jarange Patil is yet to open up his cards in the state which is divided between Marathas and OBCs, aggressive Hindutva and soft Hindutva, and urban and rural populations.

Ideally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should have gone alone under its strong leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and with the RSS's support, at a time when the regional parties, the Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have been split vertically, and the Congress has failed to occupy the opposition space.

But the BJP is unsure of its victory and thus relying on the rebel leaders --chief minister Eknath Shinde and deputy CM Ajit Pawar under whose leadership the BJP did political operation and split the Shiv Sena and the NCP respectively. Now, Eknath Sinde and Ajit Pawar are finding it hard to accept the number of seats the BJP is offering to their parties.

While the BJP and the Shiv Sena-Eknath Shinde have announced their candidates separately, the NCP-Ajit Pawar could not do so despite suggesting that it will announce the candidates on March 28. The BJP is contesting on 23 seats, Shinde's Shiv Sena is fighting on eight seats and will announce its nominees in the coming days.

However, Eknath Shinde could not announce his son Shrikant Shinde's Kalyan Lok Sabha seat in the first list despite Shrikant being a sitting Lok Sabha member, due to opposition by the local BJP leaders. The picture in the Opposition's MVA is no different from the ruling front.

Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena announced candidates on 17 seats without taking the allies, Congress and NCP-Sharad Pawar, into confidence. The Congress Legislative Party leader in the state Assembly Balasaheb Thorat reacted strongly to it while Sharad Pawar's NCP too was seen as being uncomfortable as Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena announced four candidates in Mumbai. It has been wanting to get one more seat in Mumbai ignoring the demands of the Congress and the NCP-Sharad Pawar.

Before that, the Congress released a list of its seven candidates separately. And on Saturday the Sharad Pawar led NCP released the first list of candidates. It has renominated Supriya Sule (Baramati), Marathi actor-turned-politician Amol Kolhe (Shirur), Nilesh Lanke (Ahmednagar), Amar Kale (Wardha) and Bhaskar Bhagre (Dindori) .

Prakash Ambedkar's VBA claims to be anti-BJP but its decision to put up candidates separately following the failure of the seat sharing talks with the MVA, would be seen helping the BJP in this battle. This is because its anti-BJP votes would weaken the MVA candidates and thus help BJP win seats.

The VBA is fighting Bhandara-Gondia, Gadchiroli-Chimur, Chandrapur, Buldhana, Akola, Amravati, Wardha and Washim seats in Vidarbha region, and is expected to announce more candidates for the other seats in the coming days. Ambedkar is optimistic of getting Manoj Jarange Patil and the Rashtriya OBC Mahasangh on board, hoping to split the Maratha and OBC vote of the Maha Yuti and the Maha Vikas Aghadi.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is keen to have a pre-poll alliance with Ambedkar's VBA. Bachhu Kadu, leader of the Prahar Janashakti Party (PJP) which is also the constituent of the BJP-led front in the state, has threatened to quit to protest against Navneet Rana, the BJP nominee from Amravati who joined the party recently.