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Maharashtra elections: Polling percentage rises to 30.9 per cent at 1 pm

Our Bureau/PTI Mumbai | Updated on October 21, 2019 Published on October 21, 2019

NCP leader Ajit Pawar stands in a queue to cast his vote at the Zilla Parishad school in Katewadi Baramati on Monday. Photo: Jignesh Mistry   -  THE HINDU

Actor Amir Khan poses for the cameras after casting his vote in Mumbai on Monday. - Shashi Ashiwal

Voters wait in a queue to cast their vote at a polling booth in suburban Mumbai on Monday.

Altogether 30.89 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the first six hours on Monday in Maharashtra, after polling for the 288 Assembly seats began at 7 am, officials said.

Election officials said Akkalkuwa constituency in north Maharashtra recorded 41.32 per cent voting till 1 pm, while Magathane in north Mumbai recorded 30.43 per cent polling during the same period.

Tribal Dahanu in Palghar district recorded 39.75 per cent voting in the first six hours, the officials said. The percentage is likely to rise considering the long queues outside several polling booths, the official said. Voting will end at 6 pm.

Prominent personalities who voted include RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, CM Devendra Fadnavis, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and MNS chief Raj Thackeray.

Actor Riteish Deshmukh and wife Genelia cast their vote in Latur district, where Amit and Dheeraj, brothers of Ritesh, are contesting as Congress candidates.

A nonagenarian was the cynosure of all eyes as he accompanied Union Minister Smriti Irani outside a polling booth in Mumbai.

“Today’s hero is Khanna sahab, who has served in the Army. He is 93 and came out to vote. It is an inspiration,” Irani said.

Other urban areas like Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad reported a moderate response, while the turnout in rural areas was on the higher side, he said.

The state has total 8,98,39,600 voters, including 1,06,76,013 in the age group of 18 to 25 years. Nearly 6.5 lakh polling personnel have been deployed at 96,661 polling booths across the state.

Maharashtra recorded a 63.38 per cent turnout in the 2014 Assembly elections.

Along with the assembly elections, a by-election is being held at Satara, where the sitting MP from the NCP, Udayanraje Bhosale, had resigned from the party to join the BJP. 

Several Bollywood celebrities, including Aamir Khan, Madhuri Dixit Nene and Lara Dutta, stepped out to vote for the Maharashtra Assembly elections.

A vote on Fadnavis govt

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who was among the early voters in Nagpur, said people will vote on the basis of the five-year performance of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the Devendra Fadnavis-led dispensation in Maharashtra.

“The BJP-Sena will have a record-breaking victory and Fadnavis will be the chief minister again,” he told reporters after casting his vote.

Tight security arrangements have been made with deployment of more than three lakh personnel from state police and central forces in Maharashtra, while over 75,000 security personnel have been mobilised in Haryana.

Counting of votes is on October 24.

Aggressive electioneering

The high-voltage electioneering by the BJP saw participation of a galaxy of leaders led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh, as it continued to aggressively raise the nationalism plank by focusing on scrapping of Article 370 provisions on special status to Jammu and Kashmir and targeted the opposition on national security and corruption.

The opposition tried to corner the BJP governments at the Centre and in the states on the handling of the economy, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi blaming the ruling party for the economic slowdown and unemployment and highlighting issues like “failure” of demonetisation and GST rollout.

The BJP, which is seeking a second straight term under Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra, is contesting 164 seats, which include candidates of smaller allies contesting on its lotus symbol, while Sena has fielded candidates on 124 seats.

On the other hand, the Congress has fielded 147 candidates and the ally NCP 121.

Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, son of Uddhav Thackeray, is contesting from Worli in Mumbai. The 29-year-old is the first from the Thackeray family to make debut in electoral politics.

Maharashtra recorded a 63.38 per cent turnout in the 2014 Assembly elections.

Fadnavis casts vote in Nagpur

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis cast his vote in Nagpur city and urged people to partcipate in the “festival of democracy".

Fadnavis, along with his wife and mother, voted in a polling booth set up in a school in Dharampeth area of the city.

He appealed to citizens to turn up in large numbers and take part in the “festival of democracy“.

“We elect a government which fulfills our dreams and aspirations. It is natural for us to have expectations from the government. But, those who vote have the first right to have such expectations,” he told reporters after casting his vote.

Fadnavis is seeking a fifth term as MLA from the Nagpur South West Assembly constituency.

Early voters

Former chief minister Ashok Chavan and the current BJP-led Maharashtra government’s school education minister Ashish Shelar were among the early ones to cast their votes in the state Assembly polls on Monday.

Politicians as well as members of the public came out to poll in the morning despite rain in some parts of the state.

Chavan and his family members cast their votes at the Ambedkar Nagar Municipal school in Nanded district.

In Mumbai, where it has been drizzling over the past two days, Shelar exercised his franchise at St Stanisluas High school in suburban Bandra.

NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar voted at Baramati in Pune district.

Chavan is the Congress’ candidate from Bhokar in Nanded for the ongoing state polls, while Pawar is the NCP’s nominee from Baramati.

Shelar is the BJP’s candidate from Bandra-West seat.

Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde cast his vote in Aurangabad district.

State Housing Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and his family members cast their votes at Shirdi in Ahmednagar.

Former cricketer Sandeep Patil, who was also among the early voters at Shivaji Park in Mumbai, said more than the party, the merit of an individual candidate was important.

“We should vote for candidates who work for their constituencies,” he said.

Polling began on Monday morning in all the 288 Assembly constituencies in the state, where 3,237 candidates, including 235 women, are in the fray.

The voting commenced at 7 am and will end at 6 pm.

 

Published on October 21, 2019
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