All set for Maharashtra polling

All set for Maharashtra polling - Sakshi Post

* Fate of 41119 candidates to be decided on Wednesday
* Quadrangular contest on cards as long-standing alliances crumble
* BJP emerges front-runner, hopes for clear majority

Mumbai: Polling for the Assembly elections in Maharashtra will be held on Wednesday to decide the fate of 4,119 candidates, including former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. The polling will begin at 7 AM and conclude at 6 PM.
Counting of votes will be taken up on October 19. Prominent candidates in the poll arena include former Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and former ministers R R Patil and Chhagan Bhujbal of NCP, Devendra Fadnavis, Eknath Khadse, Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde of BJP, Subhash Desai, Suresh Jain and Deepak Kesarkar of Shiv Sena, former ministers Patangrao Kadam, Shivajirao Moghe and Rajendra Darda of Congress and Bala Nandgaonkar of MNS.

Of the 4,119 candidates in the electoral fray, 3,843 are men and 276 women. Of the 288 constituencies, including 36 constituencies in Mumbai, 234 are general, 29 reserved for scheduled castes and 25 for scheduled tribes.

There are 83 constituencies having more than 15 candidates and a constituency where there are more than 32 candidates. Out of the total 8,35,38,114 voters, 4,40,26,401 are men and 3,93,63,011 women. There are 984 voters in the others category.

The number of service voters is 1,47,718. Nanded South has the maximum 39 candidates, while Akole and Guhagar have the minimum five candidates each. BJP has fielded 280 candidates, BSP 260, CPI 34, CPM 19, Congress 287, NCP 278, Shiv Sena 282 and MNS has fielded 219. Registered parties other than recognised state and national parties have fielded 761 candidates.

There are 1,699 Independents also in the poll arena. Chinchwad in Pune district, with 4,84,080 voters, is the largest constituency, while Wadala in Mumbai, with 1,96,859 voters, is the smallest. The Election Commission has deputed 135 general observers, 112 expenditure observers, five police observers and 18 awareness observers, the poll officials said.

Altogether 5,84,617 polling personnel have been deployed. The number of polling stations is 91,376. The high-octane campaign for Maharashtra Assembly elections ended on Monday with the state set to witness a five-cornered contest for the 288-member House after 25 years.

 With long-standing political alliances crumbling, the polls will test the mettle of four major parties--Congress, NCP, BJP and Shiv Sena individually, with Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena trying to emerge as the X-factor in the keenly-watched contest. As in Lok Sabha poll five months ago, the Assembly election in Maharashtra is about Narendra Modi, who sought to unleash his personal charisma, carpet-bombing the state with a slew of rallies, evoking criticism from rivals but thrusting forward BJP as prime contender for power in the state for the first time without the crutches of former saffron ally Shiv Sena.

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