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Maharashtra, Haryana goes to polls; eyes on BJP

Maharashtra, Haryana goes to polls; eyes on BJP
Highlights

Voting began for the Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana on Wednesday. These elections are crucial for both Congress and BJP. Congress is determined to retain its grip in both the states after its debacle in general polls.

Mumbai:Voting began for the Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana on Wednesday. These elections are crucial for both Congress and BJP. Congress is determined to retain its grip in both the states after its debacle in general polls.

It is one of the biggest electoral tests after the Lok Sabha polls for Narendra Modi, who spearheaded a high-decibel BJP campaign to wrest power from the opposition in what promises to be a close contest.
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is witnessing a five-cornered contest for the 288-member House. An electorate of about 8.25 crore will choose from 4,119 candidates in the fray, including 1,699 Independents.
Prominent candidates in the poll arena include former deputy CM Ajit Pawar and former ministers R R Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal of NCP, Devendra Fadnavis, Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde of BJP, Subhash Desai, Suresh Jain and Deepak Kesarkar of Shiv Sena, former ministers Patangrao Kadam, Shivajirao Moghe and Rajendra Darda Congress and Bala Nandgaonkar of MNS.
Of the 4,119 candidates in the electoral fray, 3,843 are male and 276 women. Of the 288 constituencies, including 36 constituencies in Mumbai, 234 are general, 29 reserved for scheduled castes and 25 for scheduled tribes.
There are 83 constituencies having more than 15 candidates and a constituency where there are more than 32 candidates.
Out of the total 8,35,38,114 voters, 4,40,26,401 are men and 3,93,63,011 are women. There are 984 voters in the "others" category. The number of service voters is 1,47,718.
While Nanded South has the maximum 39 candidates, Akole and Guhagar have the minimum number at five candidates each.BJP has fielded 280, BSP 260, CPI 34, CPM 19, Congress 287, NCP 278, Shiv Sena 282 and MNS has fielded 219.
Registered parties other than recognised state and national parties have fielded 761 candidates. Also, there are 1,699 independents candidates in the fray.
Chinchwad in Pune district, with 4,84,080 voters, is the largest constituency, while Wadala in Mumbai, with 1,96,859 voters is the smallest.
The Election Commission has deputed 135 general observers, 112 expenditure observers, five police observers and 18 awareness observers, the officials said.
Altogether 5,84,617 polling personnel have been deployed. The number of polling stations is 91,376.
The high-octane campaign for Maharashtra Assembly election ended on October 13 with the state set to witness a five-cornered contest for the 288-member House after 25 years.
Modi had addressed 27 rallies, rare by a Prime Minister in a state Assembly election, in the absence of a BJP leader with pan-Maharashtra appeal, following the death of Union Minister Gopinath Munde in a car crash soon after Lok Sabha polls.

Haryana
Voting commenced at 7 am amid tight security arrangements on all the 90 assembly seats of Haryana where 1,351 candidates, including the kin of the three famous 'Lals', are battling it out in high-stakes multi-cornered contest.
Over 1.63 crore voters, including 87.37 lakh women, 88,662 service voters and 12 NRI voters, are expected to decide the fate of 1,351 candidates, including 116 women, a figure revised by the election officials last night from earlier 109.
A total number of 16,357 polling booths have been set up. Unlike in the recent past, when the fight has mainly been limited between Congress and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), a number of new players have thrown their hats in the ring this time.
Besides Congress and INLD, BJP is trying to come to power on its own for the first time since the formation of Haryana in 1966.
The ruling Congress is eyeing a win for the third time in a row, mainly banking on the development card while main opposition INLD is seeking to return to power after a decade of hiatus, banking on the charisma of its President Om Prakash Chautala and consolidation of the Jat vote, besides other factors.
According to Haryana's Chief Electoral Officer, Shrikant Walgad, supervisory teams are keeping an eye on polling parties, which would report from time to time during polling to their concerned senior officers.
Constant vigil was being maintained on persons and vehicles in all border areas of Haryana. Teams of flying squads were patrolling to ensure smooth conduct of elections.
Walgad said that candidates of Congress and BJP are contesting elections from all 90 Assembly constituencies of the state whereas 88 candidates of INLD, 87 of BSP, 65 of HJC, 17 of CPM, 14 of CPI and 297 of Registered Parties including two candidates of the SAD and 603 Independent Candidates are contesting elections to test their fate.
He said that out of 90 Assembly Constituencies, 63 were General and 17 Reserved. Total 2,700 booths have been identified as sensitive.
Video cameras and CCTV cameras have been installed for monitoring the election process.
The main contestants include top guns like Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Randeep Surjewala (Congress), former Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala's son Abhay, daughter-in-law Naina and grandson Dushyant (INLD), former Union Minister Venod Sharma and his wife Shakti Rani (HJCP-V), former MP Kuldeep Bishnoi, his wife Renuka and elder brother former Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan (HJC-BL).
Other main candidates include Haryana BJP President Ram Bilas Sharma and Abhimanyu (BJP), Arvind Sharma (BSP) and Gopal Kanda (HLP), who was booked in the Geetika Sharma suicide case.
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