Polling has begun for assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana. Voting, which began at 7 AM, will end at 6 in the evening.
In Maharashtra, 3,237 candidates, including 235 women, are in the fray for 288 seats. The main contest is likely to take place between BJP-Shiv Sena alliance and Congress-NCP combine. Other smaller parties in the fray include AIMIM, MNS and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi.
The BJP 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.
Among other parties, MNS has fielded 101 candidates, the CPI 16, the CPM 8. The BSP has fielded candidates in 262 constituencies. A total of 1400 Independents are also in the poll arena.
Prominent candidates in the fray include Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray and Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan of Congress.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure free, fair and peaceful polling. More than three lakh personnel from state police and central forces have been deployed in the state. Three helicopters and drones are being used in Naxal affected Gadchiroli district. The voting in the district will be held between 7 AM and 3 PM. At least 100 companies of SRPF and 45,000 Home Guards personnel have been deployed in the district.
In Haryana, 1,169 candidates including 104 Women are in the fray for 90 Assembly seats. The main parties in the fray are ruling BJP, Congress and Indian National Lok Dal. Other parties contesting the polls include Jannayak Janta Party, Aam Aadmi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. Both BJP and Congress are contesting all 90 seats, while Indian National Lok Dal has fielded its candidates at 81 seats in alliance with Shiromani Akali Dal.
Nearly 1.83 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in Haryana. Out of them around 99 lakh are men and 85 lakh women.
More than 75,000 security personnel have been deployed in the state to ensure free, fair and peaceful polling.
Counting of votes in both the states will be taken up on October 24.