Polling underway in Maharashtra

Mumbai: Altogether 30.89 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the first six hours today in Maharashtra, after polling for the 288 Assembly seats began at 7 am, officials said.

Election officials said Akkalkuwa constituency in north Maharashtra recorded 41.32 per cent voting till 1 pm, while Magathane in north Mumbai recorded 30.43 per cent polling during the same period.

Tribal Dahanu in Palghar district recorded 39.75 per cent voting in the first six hours, the officials said.

The percentage is likely to rise considering the long queues outside several polling booths, the official said. Voting will end at 6 pm.

Prominent personalities who voted include RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, CM Devendra Fadnavis, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and MNS chief Raj Thackeray.

Several Bollywood celebrities, including Aamir Khan, Madhuri Dixit Nene and Lara Dutta, stepped out to vote for the Maharashtra Assembly elections.

Actor Riteish Deshmukh and wife Genelia cast their vote in Latur district, where Amit and Dheeraj, brothers of Ritesh are contesting as Congress candidates.

A nonagenarian was the cynosure of all eyes as he accompanied Union minister Smriti Irani outside a polling booth in Mumbai.

“Today’s hero is Khanna sahab, who has served in the Army. He is 93 and came out to vote. It is an inspiration,” Irani said.

Other urban areas like Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Aurangabad reported a moderate response, while the turnout in rural areas was on the higher side, he said.

The State has total 8,98,39,600 voters, including 1,06,76,013 in the age group of 18 to 25 years. Nearly 6.5 lakh polling personnel have been deployed at 96,661 polling booths across the state.

Maharashtra recorded 63.38 per cent turnout in 2014 Assembly elections.