The voting for assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana will take place on Monday amid unprecedented security arrangements made by the Election Commission. Bypolls will also be held to 51 assembly seats and two Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 18 states.
The electoral fate of over 4400 candidates--1,169 in Haryana and 3,237 in Maharashtra--will be sealed in the EVMs. In Haryana, 19,578 polling stations have been set up whereas 96,661 in Maharashtra for people to cast their votes. The polling for 90 Assembly seats of Haryana and 288 seats of Maharashtra will start at 7 am and will continue till 6 pm.
In the two states, the BJP and its allies are seeking to retain power on the back of the recent Lok Sabha election victory, while the Opposition is hoping to turn the tide by taking advantage of anti-incumbency.
The counting of votes will take place on October 24.
In Haryana, 2,987 have been marked as vulnerable whereas 151 critical polling stations have been identified the live footage of which would be monitored in the control room set up at the headquarters in Chandigarh. More than 40,000 Haryana Police personnel, over 13,000 paramilitary personnel and more than 20,000 Home Guards and Special Police Officers have been deployed for conducting the election. The assembly election will witness a multi-cornered contest among BJP, Congress, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Jannayak Janta Party (JJP).
For Maharashtra Assembly elections, 40,000 police personnel will be deployed in Mumbai and drones will be used for surveillance as part of security arrangements, Mumbai Police had earlier said. Maharashtra Police will also maintain strict vigil throughout the state with its personnel deployed for election duties in all districts along with home guards, companies of CAPF and CRPF for the polling day. BJP is contesting in 150 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly while its ally Shiv Sena has fielded 124 candidates. The remaining seats have been left for smaller allies. Congress is contesting the polls in alliance with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra.
Campaigning in Maharashtra and Haryana concluded on Saturday. The Model Code of Conduct came into force on September 21 after the Election Commission (EC) announced the dates for the assembly election.
The elections are significant as it is the first assembly polls after PM Narendra Modi steered the BJP-led NDA to a resounding victory in the Lok Sabha election earlier in 2019 for a successive second term at the Centre. It is also the first assembly polls after the BJP-led government`s decision to repeal Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. BJP is in power on its own in Haryana and in alliance with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. The BJP leaders targeted Congress on its past record in office and vociferously raised the issues of repeal of Article 370 and the efforts to boost national security.The Congress and other opposition parties raised issues such as "unemployment", "slow down in economy" and " farm distress".