An estimated 39 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 0900 hours in polling across 288 assembly constituencies in Maharashtra on Monday.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, former Chief Ministers Ashok Chavan and Prithiviraj Chavan, former Deputy Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar with his family, his cousin Supriya Sule, former union home minister and ex-CM Sushilkumar Shinde were among the early birds who cast their votes.
Though rains in parts of the state dampened the voter turnout, it is likely to pick up as the day progresses, election official said.
The main contest in Maharashtra is between ‘Mahayuti’ alliance of BJP, Shiv Sena and other smaller parties and ‘Mahagadhi alliance’ of Congress and NCP.
A total of 3237 candidates from a host of parties besides independents are in the fray in which the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine is hoping to return to power for a second consecutive term and the Opposition Congress-NCP alliance vowing to wrest power from them.
Voting also started for the lone Lok Sabha by-election in Satara where the BJP has put up sitting MP Udayanraje Bhosale who is challenged by NCP’s Shrinivas Patil for the prestigious seat, once the royal seat of the Chhatrapatis.
The voting for 21 Assembly constituencies in Pune district started on a peaceful note.
In Baramati seat, former state deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar is pitted against BJP candidate Gopichand Padalkar.
Pune Member of Parliament Girish Bapat has cast his vote along with his family members at Kasba Peth, from where BJP candidate and Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak is contesting for the first time.
BJP is contesting on 164 seats, while its alliance Shiv Sena has fielded candidates on 126 seats. Congress has fielded 147 candidates and the ally NCP 121.
The state has a total electorate of 8.97 crore, comprising 4.68 crore men and 4.28 crore women, plus 2,634 transgender voters.
The ECI has set up 966,661 polling stations and deployed a total number 135,021 VVPAT-EVMs for voting in the
Results will be announced on October 24.
In 2014 elections, BJP won 122 seats, the Sena-63, the Congress-42 and the NCP-41.