Campaigning for the 21 October Assembly elections in Maharashtra drew to an end at 5 pm on Saturday, with security arrangements being stepped up across the state. The campaigning had gained momentum after the Election Commission had announced the poll dates on 21 September and candidates had filed their nomination papers on 4 October.
A total of 96,661 polling booths are being set up for the single-phase elections and a total of 6.5 lakh polling staff has been roped in. A total of 1,35,021 VVPAT machines are also installed.
The Maharashtra police is stepping up security preparations to ensure peaceful polling. Over three lakh personnel of the state police and the Central forces have been deployed for the upcoming elections, said an official.
Apart from two lakh personnel from the state police, 350 companies of Central Industrial Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Nagaland Women Police Force will also be deployed, Milind Bharambe, Special Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) told PTI. At least 100 companies of State Reserve Police Force and around 45,000 jawans of State Home Guards have been deployed on 24-hour duty, he said, adding that services of 20,000 Home Guard jawans of other states are also sought.
In the Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district, at least three helicopters and drones will be used , he added.
A total of 8,98,39,600 voters, including 4,28,43,635 women and 4,68,75,750 men, are expected to exercise their franchise to elect 288 out of total 3,237 candidates, including 235 women, contesting the election. A total of 1,06,76,013 voters fall in the age group of 18-25 years.
The main contest lies between the Mahayuti or grand alliance led by the BJP and the Maha-aghadi (front) of the Congress and the NCP.
The BJP is contesting 164 seats, which include candidates of smaller allies contesting on its lotus symbol, while the Sena is contesting 126 seats. On the other hand, the Congress has fielded 147 candidates and its ally NCP 121.
Among other parties, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), led by Raj Thackeray, 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.
The bypoll for Satara Lok Sabha constituency will also be held on 21 October. Former NCP leader and sitting MP Udayanraje Bhosale is contesting the seat on a BJP ticket against Shriniwas Patil of the Congress-NCP alliance.
The results of the Assembly polls will be declared on 24 October. The last date to file nominations was 4 October and last date for withdrawal of candidature was 7 October.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Oct 19, 2019 22:38:30 IST