The voting for assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana is underway 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.