Voting begins in Maharashtra, Haryana
Polling began on Monday morning in all 288 Assembly constituencies of Maharashtra where 3,237 candidates, including 235 women, are in the fray.
The voting commenced at 7 am and will end at 6 pm. Prominent candidates include Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis from Nagpur South-West, and his predecessors from the Congress -- Ashok Chavan, who is contesting from Bhokar in Nanded district, and Prithviraj Chavan, who is seeking a re- election from Karad South in Satara district.
The BJP, under Fadnavis' leadership, is seeking a second straight term in the state.
Aaditya Thackeray, the son of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, has also entered the poll fray from Worli constituency in Mumbai.
The 29-year-old Yuva Sena chief is the first member from his family to make a debut in electoral politics.
Voting is also underway for the byelection to Satara Lok Sabha constituency, where former NCP leader and sitting MP Udayanraje Bhosale is in the fray on BJP's ticket against Shriniwas Patil of the Congress-NCP combine.
The BJP has fielded its nominees in 164 Assembly seats, including candidates of smaller allies contesting on its lotus symbol, while the Sena is contesting 124 seats.
On the other hand, the opposition Congress has fielded 147 candidates and its ally NCP 121.
The main contest is between the 'Mahayuti' or grand alliance led by the BJP, and the 'maha-aghadi' (front) led by the Congress and NCP.
Among other parties, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has fielded 101 candidates.
As many as 1,400 Independents are also in the fray. The electioncampaign, which ended on Saturday evening, was dominated by the BJP's aggressive narrative of the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
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.
Around 1,35,021 VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) machines have also been installed.
Of the 288 constituencies, Nanded-South seat has the maximum 38 candidates, while Chiplun in Ratnagiri district has just three nominees.
Polling begins in 90 assembly constituencies in Haryana
Polling began Monday morning in 90 assembly constituencies in Haryana.
Polling began at 7 a.m. and will continue till 6 p.m., officials said.
As many as 1,169 candidates including 105 women of various political outfits are contesting the election.
The prominent figures include Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, JJP's Dushyant Chautala and INLD's Abhay Singh Chautala.
Haryana's lone woman minister Kavita Jain was among the early voters who cast her vote in Sonipat.
The BJP led by Khattar has set a target of winning 75 seats, while the Congress is hoping to make a comeback following a change in guard in the state.
Currently, the BJP has 48 members in the state assembly.
As many as 19,578 polling stations have been set, including 13,837 in rural areas, Chief Electoral Officer, Haryana, Anurag Agarwal said.
Tight security arrangements have been made and over 75,000 security personnel have been mobilised for the polls, DGP Manoj Yadava said earlier.
Over 1.83 crore voters are eligible to vote that includes 85 lakh women, over one lakh service voters and 252 transgenders. PTI