Maharashtra notches star-studded 57% voting

Mumbai, Oct 21 : Starting on a morning low, at the close of voting hours, Maharashtra recorded an estimated 57 per cent turnout for elections to 288 assembly seats, with a high-octane dosage of glamour and power evident all day through, here on Monday.

State EC officials said that the actual figures, which are still being tallied, may cross 60 percent by late Monday night since voting was still on in some constituencies.

All along, elections remained a headline affair with commoners rubbing shoulders with personalities from Bollywood, glamour-world, politics and industry at various polling stations.

Among them were RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, BJP union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Ramdas Athawale, Piyush Goyal and many more.

Other top politicians who voted were Uddhav Thackeray, Raj Thackeray, Narayan Rane, Chandrakant Patil, Mangalprabhat Lodha, state and central ministers and many more, not only exercised their franchise with families but also appealed to people to step out and vote across the state.

From the Congress there were Ashok Chavan, Sushilkumar Shinde, Prithviraj Chavan, Balasaheb Thorat, Vijay Wadettiwar, Sachin Sawant, Nationalist Congress Party’s leaders Sharad Pawar, nephew Ajit Pawar, daughter Supriya Sule, Nawab Malik, Dhananjay Munde, Sunil Tatkare, Jitendra Awhad, and other heavyweights.

Other celebrities who voted were Bharat Ratna cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran, Gulzar and daughter Meghna Gulzar, Salman Khan and his father Salim Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and wife Gauri, Shabana Azmi and her husband Javed Akhtar, Madhuri Dixit, John Abraham, Dia Mirza, Kareena Kapoor, Ritesh Deshmukh, Lara Dutta, Deepkia Padukone, Prem Chopra, Govinda, Subhash Ghai, Varun Dhawan, Anil Kapoor, Padmini Kolhapure, Vidya Balan, Jaya Bachchan, son Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Urmila Matondkar, Hema Malini, et al.

Mumbai’s provisional voting figures for the 36 seats are given as 45 per cent in the city and 46 per cent in the suburbs.

While the tribal areas in different parts of the state like Thane, Palghar, Chandrapur and Nandurbar recorded higher turnout in the Festival of Democracy, most other parts of the state, especially the urban and semi-urban areas apparently lagged behind.

Gondiya and Nanded recorded more than 64 per cent, ranking among the highest turnout in the state, as per the tentative figures.

Voting in the state, interrupted by bouts of rains in many parts including Mumbai during the day, generally passed off peacefully barring a few stray incidents.

In Amravati, a Shetkari Swabhimani Party candidate in Morshi seat, Devendra Bhuyar, was shot at by three men, and later they ambushed his vehicle, dragged him out and assaulted him. Bhuyar was rushed to a hospital where his condition is stable.

In Solapur, Kamala, the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) candidate Atul Khupase and his election representative were attacked by some unknown persons and the latter had to be admitted to hospital where he was given several stitches.

VBA President Prakash Ambedkar strongly condemned the violence against his candidate and demanded strong action by the Election Commission of India in the matter.

In Mumbai, a voter Abdul Aziz Memon complained of having been deprived of his vote at a polling station in Mahim west’s Municipal School. Memon claimed that when he went to vote at Booth No. 50, he was shocked to learn that someone else had already voted in his name.

In Pune’s waterlogged Kambleshwar village, district poll officials created a ‘train’ of tractor trailers on which the voters gingerly walked to the polling booths and cast their votes.

At Nimgaon in Beed, the ECI authorities deployed makeshift rafts and boats to ferry voters stranded in flood waters to a polling station to exercise their franchise. The gesture by Tehsildar Surekha Swami has been appreciated by district Collector A. K. Pandey.

Police detained a voter, identified as Harshal, for allegedly flouting voting secrecy rules after he clicked a picture of his vote in the EVM and circulated it on social media.

In Thane, a man Sunil Khambe created a ruckus by throwing ink on a voting machine and polling booth to register his protest against EVMs which he alleged were a threat to democracy.

The counting of votes will be taken up on October 24 for all the 288 seats and results shall start coming out by noon on Thursday.

/IANS

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