Voting for Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly polls was held on October 21, Monday. The voting took place from 7 am till 6 pm. In the assembly polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies are seeking to retain power, while the opposition is hoping to turn the situation by taking advantage of any anti-incumbency.
In Maharashtra, the ‘Mahayuti’ alliance of Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiv Sena and smaller parties is against the ‘Maha-agadhi’ led by the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
Tight security arrangements were made with deployment of more than three lakh personnel from state police and central forces in Maharashtra, while over 75,000 security personnel were mobilised in Haryana. Counting of votes will conclude on October 24. As per the official Election Commission of India (ECI) data, Haryana has recorded a polling percentage of 67.97 per cent, while 55.33% voting was recorded in Maharashtra.
Notably, Voting in Haryana was to be done for 90 seats whereas voting in Maharashtra was done for 299 seats. The elections as always have some events which attract the attention of the media and the citizens. The elections witnessed both some good events and some violence. And the same Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) problem was reported by the very same complainant, the opposition.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary Avinash Pandey said that most of the EVMs at many polling booths in Mumbai were not working. “We have set up this war room since 6 am. We are getting information from poll booths, mostly that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are not functioning properly, these were changed at a few places,” he reported.
“We got complaint from Ramtek Assembly constituency booth no. 337 that if you press one particular button on the EVM, a different symbol comes out on the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT). We have filed a complaint with the Election Commission (EC) in this regard,” he added.
Reports also suggest that faulty EVMs delayed polling at some booths in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri and Bhandara districts. Polling was also halted for sometime at a booth in Worli area of Mumbai due to a technical error. The state Congress unit also sent 187 complaints to the Election Commission of malfunctioning of EVMs.
EVM machine problem was also reported in Haryana’s Gurugram. The voting was put on hold after the machine stopped working at booth number 286 in Badshahpur. Meanwhile, few violent acts were also reported in Haryana and Maharashtra. Six people got injured in a violent clash between BJP and Congress workers in Nuh, Mewat (Haryana). They pelted stones at each other and disturbed the polling activity. Situation was later controlled.
Another appalling incident took place in Maharshtra’s Amravati district. Three motorcycle-borne masked men fired at a candidate of pro-farmer outfit Swabhimani Paksha, on the voting day, when he was going in a car, and also beat him up after pulling him out of the vehicle, the police said. However, in Pune’s Kambaleshwar village, waterlogged roads had become a hindrance for voters to reach the polling station. To aid voters, the administration built a bridge by adding six tractor trolleys so that voters could get to the polling booth easily. Apart from the tractor-trolley bridge, a baby care centre that is a creche was also set up at this polling booth in Kambaleshwar.
School children in uniform in Mumbai were seen helping senior citizens cast their votes. They were seen taking elderly voters inside the polling stations and escorting them out. The young ones also appealed Mumbaikars to come out and vote. They say that they can’t vote but people should come out and vote. Police was seen helping senior citizens cast their vote at Malabar Hill polling booth in Mumbai.
The elections also witnessed few voters who were so dedicated to exercise their right and responsibility that despite of being at the behest of a dominating group prevailing in the area, to not to vote, the citizens participated in the election process. Tribals from the interior villages of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra courageously came out of the house and cast their votes despite threats from the Maoists. In the Maoism-hit Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, Maoists had put up posters and banners, asking villagers to refrain from participating in the elections.
There were few instances which happened in the elections that amazed the citizens. Leaders in Haryana showcased unique methods of travelling to their respective polling booths to cast their vote. Leaders ditched their cars and adopted eco-friendly modes of travel. Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) leader Dushyant Chautala and his family reached a polling booth on a tractor. On the other hand, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar rode a bicycle to cast his vote in Karnal. In the Maharashtra Elections, there was a huge crowd of celebrities and high profile politicians voting for their candidate.
Celebrities like Salman Khan, Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Varun Dhawan, Aamir Khan and wife Kiran Rao, John Abrahim, Anushka Sharma, Shahrukh Khan with wife Gauri Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Vidya Balan, Deepika Padukone, Hritik Roshan, Hema Malini, Anil Kapoor, Preity Zinta, Urmila Matondkar, actor turned politician Sunny Deol, Madhuri Dixit, Dia Mirza, Reitesh Deshmukh and wife Genelia D’souza, Kunal Kohli, Lara Dutta and several others cast their vote.
Similarly there were many sportspersons who voted in Maharashtra and Haryana. Sachin Tendulkar, wife Anjali and their son Arjun, tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi, Wrestlers Babita Phogat, Geeta Phogat & their family all stepped up to cast their vote. Babita Phogat was contesting on BJP ticket from Haryana against Congress candidate Nirpender Singh Sangwan & JJP candidate Satpal Sangwan. Yogeshwar Dutt, Olympic Medallist and BJP candidate from Baroda cast his vote. He was also contesting against Congress candidate Krishan Hooda.
High Profile politicians like the Thackerays including Uddhav Thackeray, his wife Rashmi and sons Aditya and Tejas cast their vote in Bandra (East). Aditya Thackeray is also a candidate from Worli constituency. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Chief Raj Thackeray and his family also voted at Shivaji Park in Mumbai.
BJP leaders Poonam Mahajan, Smriti Irani and Congress leaders like Sanjay Nirupam & Priya Dutt also cast their vote. Former Home Minister and Congress leader Sushilkumar Shinde with wife Ujwala and daughter Praniti Shinde cast their votes at a polling booth in Solapur. Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel & his wife Varsha cast their votes at a polling booth in Gondia assembly constituency.
Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Supriya Sule cast her vote in Baramati. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari voted in Nagpur, Haryana Congress president Kumari Selja cast her vote in Hisar, Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda cast his vote in Rohtak, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also cast his vote. Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar cast his vote in Baramati, he is also contesting against BJP’s Gopichand Padalkar. Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devedra Fadnavis along with his wife Amruta Fadnavis and his mother Sarita cast their vote in Nagpur. Fadnavis was contesting from Nagpur South West.
While leaders also spoke about the elections, commented on other leaders and made predictions about which party would win the Assembly polls. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari expressed confidence that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will form the next government in Maharashtra with a “record-breaking victory”.
Gadkari also said that people will vote on the basis of the five-year performance of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the Devendra Fadnavis-led dispensation in Maharashtra.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said, “Voting is underway peacefully across the state. Opposition parties including Congress have already lost and have left the battleground, their tall claims have no value.”
While, taking a jibe at Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar’s act of riding a bicycle to his polling booth, said that Khattar’s stunt of riding a bicycle on the polling day was a mere ‘jumla’. “For 5 years he did not ride on anything else other than a helicopter, all these acts on the polling day are just jumlas,” Hooda told news agency ANI after casting his vote at a polling booth in Rohtak.
Former Haryana chief minister and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) are not factors, the contest is between Congress and BJP. Congress will get the majority.”
Union Minister Piyush Goyal said, “We have given corruption-free governments in both Maharashtra and Haryana. I am sure people will make the right decision while voting. We have taken strong decisions like 370 which people have seen. Agriculture crisis is being dealt with and it will take some time.”
He also said, “I am confident that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will win around 225 seats, opposition has lost all credibility and is nowhere in the contest. People are with Modi ji and Fadnavis ji.” Meanwhile, leaders also appealed citizens to come out and cast their vote.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged to vote and enrich the festival of democracy. He also expressed his hope that youngsters should vote in large numbers. “Elections are taking place for Haryana and Maharashtra assemblies. There are also by-polls taking place in various parts of India. I urge voters in these states and seats to turnout in record numbers and enrich the festival of democracy. I hope youngsters vote in large numbers,” tweeted PM Modi. He tweeted the message in Marathi and Hindi as well.
Elections are taking place for Haryana and Maharashtra assemblies. There are also by-polls taking place in various parts of India. I urge voters in these states and seats to turnout in record numbers and enrich the festival of democracy. I hope youngsters vote in large numbers.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 21, 2019
“I appeal to my dear brothers and sisters from Haryana to participate in the celebration of democracy in large numbers,” Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar tweeted.
— Manohar Lal (@mlkhattar) October 20, 2019
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted, “Voting is our Right, Voting is our Duty, And voting is an integral part of democracy. DO VOTE!” BJP leader Amit Shah also made an appeal by writing on his twitter handle.
Voting is our Right,
Voting is our Duty,
And voting is an integral part of democracy.
मतदान हा आपला अधिकार आहे,
मतदान हा आपला हक्क आहे,
लोकशाहीच्या पवित्र पर्वातील ते अभीन्न अंग आहे.
मतदान अवश्य करा…! #MaharashtraAssemblyPolls #VoteKarMaharashtra #Vote4Development pic.twitter.com/L5iyQ8etXv
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) October 21, 2019
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat cast his vote at a polling centre in Mahal (Nagpur). Coming out of the polling booth, he urged the public to vote in large numbers.
Key candidates in Haryana assembly polls:
Some key candidates in Haryana include Manohar Lal Khattar who was contesting from Karnal. The current leader of the Opposition in Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda is contesting from his home constituency of Garhi Sampla-Kiloi in Rohtak district. Abhay Singh Chautala is contesting from Ellenabad constituency of Haryana’s Sirsa district.
Dushyant Chautala, Abhay’s nephew and founder of Jannayak Janta Party is contesting from the Uchana Kalan constituency. The BJP had fielded three high-profile sportspersons in Haryana Assembly elections. Olympic medalist Dutt, Commonwealth gold medallist Babita Phogat and former Indian Hockey captain Sandeep Singh are contesting from Baroda, Dadri, and Pehowa Assembly constituencies respectively. A famous Tik Tok star, Sonali Phogat, contesting from Admapur seat was also among the women candidates fielded by the BJP in this election.
Big candidates in Maharashtra assembly polls:
CM Devendra Fadnavis seeking re-election from Nagpur South-West seat is facing Congress’ Ashish Deshmukh. Congress leader and former Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chavan is pitted against BJP’s Atulbaba Bhosale in Karad South while Ashok Chavan is contesting from Bhokar in Nanded district. Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray, who is the first member of the Thackeray family to contest, made his electoral debut from Worli Assembly seat in Mumbai. NCP’s strongman and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar is contesting from his family bastion of Baramati where BJP’s Gopichand Padalkar was contesting against him.
Leader of Opposition in Assembly, Vijay Namdeorao Wadettiwar is contesting from Brahmapuri seat and is pitted against Sandeep Wamanrao Gaddamwar of Shiv Sena and Aam Aadmi Party’s Paromita Prangopal Goswami. Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Bachhu Patil seeking his election from Kothrud while party’s Mumbai president Mangal Prabhat Lodha is pitted against Congress’ Hira Navaji evas in Malabar Hill.
Sharad Pawar’s grand-nephew Rohit Pawar made his electoral debut from Karjat-Jamkhed seat where he faced competition from BJP’s Ram Shankar Shinde.
As mentioned above, the counting will take place on October 24, the day which will decide the fate of the parties and candidates who are contesting in the assembly elections 2019. It will be fascinating to see whether BJP retains power or Congress manages to turn the tables. Stay tuned with us because we’ll be keeping you updated about what happens on the counting day.