New Delhi: Voting for 288 Assembly seats in Maharashtra will be held in a single-phase on October 21, the Election Commission announced on Saturday. The counting of votes will be held on October 24. With the announcement of poll dates, Model code of conduct has come into effect in Maharashtra.Also Read - Maharashtra, Haryana Assembly Elections to be Held in Single-Phase on Oct 21, Results on Oct 24 - Complete Schedule Here

Addressing a press conference Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said that random tally of EVMs will be done like it was done in the Lok Sabha elections 2019. “EVMs are safe, they cannot be tampered with. Candidates are free to come to near the strong rooms at a safe distance,” he said. Also Read - Haryana Assembly Election 2019: Single-Phase Polling on October 21, Results on October 24 -- Complete Schedule Here

He stated that officials visited the Maharashtra to conduct on-ground surveys and found that the state was prepared for polls. “We had in-depth discussion with political parties, Maharashtra’s chief electoral officer and police nodal officers, district machinery, central and state enforcement agencies and Chief Secretary, Home Secy., DGP and senior colleagues during our visit to Mumbai last week,” said Arora. Also Read - Maharashtra, Haryana Assembly Elections to be Held in Single Phase on October 21, Counting on 24: EC

Furthermore, he asserted that special security arrangements will be made for LWE affected areas in Gadchiroli and Gondia in Maharashtra.  Arora added that 2 special expenditure observers to be sent to Maharashtra.

Maharashtra Assembly Election 2019: Full Schedule

Issue of Notification: 27 Sep
Last Date of Nominations: 4 Oct
Scrutiny of Nominations: 5 Oct
Last date for withdrawal of candidature: 7 Oct
Date of Polling: 21 Oct
Counting: 24 Oct

As soon the dates were announced, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis urged voters to cast their votes.  “Election Commission has declared dates for largest festival of democracy. I appeal to all to cast their votes. In democracy, people question govt and have expectations from govt, but only those who vote have moral right to do so”, said the Chief Minister.

Maharashtra is currently ruled by a coalition of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena. In the 2014 Assembly elections, the BJP failed to get majority on its own but emerged as the single-largest party by winning 122 seats of the total 288. Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena came second with 63 seats.

This year, BJP-Sena will contest the polls together. Addressing a press conference yesterday, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray had said that there is no doubt in Sena’s coalition with the BJP, and there is no rift between the parties.

“We will use the same formula in the Maharashtra bypolls that Amit Shah, CM Devendra Fadnavis and I had used during the Lok Sabha elections. The seat-sharing will be held in the same way,” Thackeray said, adding that the decision on the seat division will be taken within two days.

Meanwhile, the Indian National Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had announced that they will fight the state Assembly elections together. “Congress and NCP have agreed to contest 125 seats each in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly Elections. Remaining 38 seats will be given to smaller allies,” NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had announced.