New Delhi: Counting of votes for the single-phase, October 21 Maharashtra Assembly Elections, which began at 8 AM on Thursday, is underway with the trends indicating that the incumbent BJP-Shiv Sena coalition will get five more years in office. All exit polls had forecast a massive win for the ruling. (Follow all Maharashtra Assembly Election-related news here)
The polls witnessed a turnout of 63%, nearly the same as that from five years ago.
Earlier, a day ahead of the results, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of the BJP, who is only the second-ever CM in the state to complete a full five-year term, visited Kedarnath temple with wife Amruta to seek blessings for poll results. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, had visited the shrine earlier this year, just days before the announcement of Lok Sabha Election results.
The BJP and the Sena contested on 150 and 124 seats respectively, while the remaining 14 seats were shared among smaller allies. The two parties, however, contested the 2014 state polls independently, on all 288 Assembly seats, having scrapped their ties just days before the polls. Later, the BJP emerged as the single-largest party with 122 seats but was unable to cross the majority mark of 145; Sena, meanwhile, was the second-largest party with 63 seats.
The two parties later stitched a post-poll alliance to form government in the state with the BJP’s then-state unit chief Devendra Fadnavis taking oath as the Chief Minister.
Fadnavis is a two-time MLA from the Nagpur South-West constituency and contested these elections from the seat for a third straight time. The polls also witnessed the electoral debut of Aaditya Thackeray, who contested from Worli, and became the first member of his family to contest an election.