50-55% voter turnout in crucial Maharashtra Assembly elections

Mumbai, Oct 13 | Updated: Oct 14 2004, 07:00am hrs
An estimated 50 to 55% out of 6.59 crore voters exercised their franchise on Wednesday for 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra.

Polling was by and large peaceful, barring stray incidents of clashes between Naxalites and police in some areas of Vidarbha region in which two jawans were injured. Also, in Pune and Sindhudurg, some clashes between Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena activists took place, according to state Election Commission sources.

The fate of some 2,678 candidates will be decided in these crucial elections, which is also the first face-off between the Congress and the BJP after the UPA took over the reins of government at the Centre after dislodging the NDA.

Elaborate security arrangements had been made by the authorities to ensure free, fair and peaceful polling which began at 7:30 am on Wednesday at 64,390 booths and ended around 5.30 pm.

Altogether 2,390 paramilitary personnel, along with 4,700 civil police and 5,700 home guards were been drawn from the Centre in addition to the 70,000 police and 30,000 home guards from the state to ensure adequate security arrangements.

A total of 82,000 electronic voting machines had been installed and 3.5 lakh polling staff have been deployed across 35 districts.

Out of 2,678 candidates, the Congress had fielded 157, the BJP 111, NCP 124, Shiv Sena 163, BSP 272, SP 95, CPI-M 16, CPI 15 and others 642. 1,083 Indepedents were also in the fray.