Voting began today on the 228 assembly seats of Maharashtra where 8.35 crore voters are eligible of exercising their franchise.
Polling began at 7 am and will conclude at 6 pm. Counting of votes will be held on October 19, poll officials said. The elections will elect members of the 13th Assembly in the state.
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.
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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.