The division in north Maharashtra comprises Nashik, Jalgaon, Nandurbar and Dhule districts, which account for 35 of the 288 seats in the State Assembly.
    
Maximum seats in the division is currently held by the NCP (nine), followed by Shiv Sena (seven), Congress (six), BJP (four), MNS (three) and others six.
    
In Muktainagar, Jalgaon district State BJP heavyweight Eknath Khadse, the sitting MLA, is seeking re-election.
    
The Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly, seen as one of the contenders for the Chief Minister's post, is facing challenge from NCP's Arun Patil, Chandrakant Patil of Shiv Sena and Yogendra Patil of Congress.
    
The Jalgaon city and rural seats, on the other hand has senior leaders, Shiv Sena candidate Sureshdada Jain (Jalgaon city) and NCP's Gulabrao Devkar (Jalgaon Rural) are contesting the polls from jail. Jain and Devkar, both former Ministers, are in jail in connection with a multi-crore
housing scam in Jalgaon.
    
Meanwhile, Raj Thackeray-led MNS is fighting to retain three constituencies - Nashik Central, Nashik East and Nashik West, which it won last time.
    
In drought-prone Assembly constituency of Nandgaon in Nashik district, a total of 15 candidates are in the fray.
    
Sitting NCP MLA Pankaj Bhujbal, son of former Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, is seeking a second term from Nandgaon, where the party's former ally Congress has fielded Anilkumar Gangadhar Aher.
    
MNS has chosen Jayant Shivaji Sanap, while BJP has put its faith in former Jansurajya Party chief Advay Prashant Hiray, who joined the party recently. Suhas Kande is contesting on a Shiv Sena ticket and Suraj Gaikwad is the candidate of the Bahujan Samajwadi Party in Nandgaon.
    
In 2009, Pankaj defeated his nearest rival, Sena candidate Sanjay Sayaji Pawar, by over 22,000 votes.

The power loom town of Malegaon constituency will also see a tough contest among the highest number of 17 Muslim candidates battling out to enter the assembly.
    
In Malegaon (Central), the fight is among sitting Congress MLA Sheikh Asif Sheikh, NCP's Moulana Mufti Mohmmed Ismail Kasami, Shiv Sena's Sajid Akhatar, MNS's Ejajadduin and Janata Dal's Buland Iqbal Nihal Ahmed.
    
From Malegaon (outer), BJP has fielded Pawan Yashwant Thakare against sitting Shiv Sena MLA Dadaji Dagadu Bhuse. Congress and BSP have also pitted their candidates Rajendra Thakare and Vankat Kachave respectively.
    
The Niphad constituency, sitting NCP MLA Dilip Bankar will take on Shiv Sena's Anil Kadam, BJP's Vaikunth Patil and son of late Congress leader Malojirao Mogal.
    
The tribal dominated Kalwan constituency, currently held by NCP, the party has once again put its stake on sitting MLA Arjun Tulshiram Pawar. To challenge him, BJP has fielded Yashwant Gawali, while Congress Dhanraj Gangurde. CPM and Shiv Sena candidates will also contest the seat.
    
In another tribal-dominated Igatpuri constituency, sitting Congress MLA Nirmala Gavit will take on BJP's Chandrakant Khade, NCP's Hiraman Khoskar, Sena's Shivram Zole and MNS's Prakash Lachke. Six independent candidates are also fighting from the seat.
    
In the Devlali constituency, former Social Welfare minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP government, Sena's Babanrao Gholap, who has won from the seat for five-consecutive time, this year will not contest following an order of the Bombay High Court. The party has brought in his son Yogesh Baban
Gholap.
    
Congress's Ganesh Unhavane is pitted against him along with BJP's Ramdas Sadaphule, MNS has given ticket to Pratap Mehrolia. A total of 18 candidates will fight for the seat.
    
In north Maharashtra's Nandurbar constituency, a strong hold of the Congress, which had faced worst ever defeat at hands of BJP in the assembly polls, Congress's Kunal Vasave will face BJP's Vijay Kumar Gavit. NCP has put its stakes on Vikas Dalvi while MNS on Gulabsingh Vasave.

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