Maharashtra went to the polls for 288 seats in its Assembly after a campaign that saw a heavy focus on Article 370 by the ruling BJP government. The heavy rains that lashed parts of the state on Monday seemingly proved a deterrent for voters, at least at the outset. Voter turnout was poor in the first hours but picked up as the day progressed and skies cleared.
Voter turnout across the state stood at 58.49 percent at 7 pm, as per data from the Election Commission. The highest voter turnout was recorded in Kolhapur district’s Karvir Assembly constituency (79.19 percent), while Thane’s Ulhasnagar recorded the lowest turnout (31.72 percent) by 6 pm. The state also saw a bypoll for the Satara Lok Sabha seat, which went on peacefully and recorded a voter turnout of 60.75 percent.
Fearing a security threat, Gadhchiroli saw voting only till 3 pm. The Naxal-affected area saw a turnout of 52.51 percent.
While votingwas mostly peaceful, there were some incidents of technical glitches in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), which caused minor disruptions.
Voting was halted for about 30 minutes at the Mother Teresa school, Waluj in Gangapur Assembly segment, owing to an EVM malfunction. Voting was halted at various booths in the Bhor constituency in Pune district as over eight EVMs developed technical snags in Velhe Budruk, Bhatti Vaghdara, Balwad, Sonde Manthana, Vangani, Ghisar, and two other villages. While these were repaired or replaced quickly, several other booths also reported other malfunctioning EVMs. Pune district recorded a voter turnout of 52.80 percent till 6 pm.
Shrinivas Bakkad, the media manager of the state Congress Shrinivas Bakkad, said the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee complained to the state election commission about 67 instances of malfunctioning EVMs.
Rain plays spoilsport
Some officials adopted unique methods to beat the poor weather. The district administration of Akola provided boats for voters at Nimgaon village, who were cut off after a bridge connecting them to Vadavni village was destroyed by a recent flood. Akola district recorded a voter turnout of 52 percent till 6 pm.
Heavy rains made it impossible for voters to reach polling booth at Kambaleshwar village in Baramati constituency. The administration used tractor trolleys to make a bridge and help voters reach the centre. Rains in the region already caused concern due to knee-high water around the centre the previous day.
Kolhapur district registered the maximum voter turnout in the state: 69.04 percent till 6 pm, while Pune was the lowest.
High-profile personalities vote
Several famous personalities exercised their franchise. The family of the former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh cast their votes at their native Babhalgaon under Latur City constituency from where Amit Deshmukh is the sitting MLA and contesting on a Congress ticket.
Dheeraj Deshmukh is the contestant from Latur Rural. Vilasrao's brother Dilip Deshmukh, Vaishali Deshmukh, and movie stars Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia Deshmukh D’Souza also exercised their franchise. Latur district registered a voter turnout of 56.41 percent till 6 pm.
NCP supremo Sharad Pawar cast his vote at Tardeo situated in south Mumbai for the Malabar Hill constituency, along with his granddaughter and son-in-law.
Mathura MP Hema Malini cast her vote at Jamnabai School for the Vile Parle Assembly seat. Mumbai City registered a voter turnout of 44.40 percent till 6 pm, while Mumbai Suburban registered a turnout of 46.92 percent.
In Nagpur, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagawat cast his vote early at Reshimgaug. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the BJP candidate from Nagpur South West seat, cast his vote along with his wife Amruta at the polling booth in Dharampeth, Nagpur.
Nagpur district recorded a voter turnout of 54.60 percent.
Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi chief Prakash Ambedkar cast his vote at Akola. "It is the biggest festival of democracy, everyone must exercise their right to vote," he told reporters.
With inputs from Sunil Dhumal, Mahesh Joshi, Abhijeet Gurjar
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Updated Date: Oct 21, 2019 20:35:15 IST