The counting of votes in the Maharashtra Assembly election will begin at 8 am on Thursday. The voting for the 288-member Maharashtra assembly was held in a single-phase on October 21. A total of 3,237 candidates, including 235 women, are in the fray this time.
The big names whose fate will be decided on Thursday are sitting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis from Nagpur South-West, former chief ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan. Ashok Chavan is in the fray from Bhokar in Nanded district, while Prithviraj contested from Karad South in Satara district.
All eyes will be on Aaditya Thackeray, the son of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, as he has become the first person from Thackeray family to contest an election. Aaditya, 29, has entered the poll fray from Worli constituency in Mumbai.
Former Maharashtra deputy CM and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar is contesting from Baramati constituency, while Chhagan Bhujbal is seeking re-election on NCP ticket from Yeola assembly segment in Nashik district
In 2014 Assembly election, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finished on top with 122 seats in its kitty, while its coalition partner Shiv Sena managed to win 63 seats. The Congress won 42 seats in 2014, while Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) emerged victorious on 41 seats.
This time, the BJP has fielded its candidates in 164 Assembly seats, including the candidates of smaller allies who are contesting on BJP's lotus symbol. The Shiv Sena has fielded its candidates in 124 seats. On the other hand, the Congress and NCP contested the election in alliance with the Congress fielding candidates in 147 seats and NCP in 121. The BJP-Shiv Sena alliance is called the 'Mahayuti', while the Congress-NCP has named their alliance as the 'Maha-aghadi' (front). Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has named its candidates in 101 seats and a total of 1,400 Independents are also in the fray.
All necessary arrangements have been made by the Election Commission (EC) for the counting day. More than 25,000 government employees have been deployed for counting in all the seats. Each constituency will have 14 to 20 counting tables and each table will have one supervisor, two assistants and three counting officials. Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) from five booths in each constituency will also be counted. The officials involved in counting will select these five booths in each constituency by a draw. These VVPAT slips will be tallies with the number of votes polled in these booths.
Each counting table will have a micro observer and representatives of candidates will be allowed to remain present at each counting table. CCTVs have been installed at every counting station and the whole counting process will be video graphed. The observers from the Election Commission will also be present during the counting process.
The counting centre will have a huge deployment of security forces, including state police, CRPF and SRPF to maintain law and order. A media centre has also been set up outside every counting centre. The results will also be made available on the EC’s website eciresults.nic.in.