The results of Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly elections will be declared on Thursday. After the Maharashtra Assembly elections got over on Monday, more than half a dozen exit poll surveys have predicted a decisive return for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena combine and a near-total rout for the Opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance.
In Haryana also, the BJP looking to retain power, its hopes buoyed by exit polls that indicate an easy victory. A counting centre has been set up in each of the 90 assembly constituencies and there is an additional centre in Gurgaon’s Badshahpur segment, which had a larger number of polling booths.
The counting of votes will begin at 8 am, Haryana’s joint chief electoral officer Inder Jeet told PTI on Wednesday. The electronic voting machines (EVMs) and the VVPAT paper trail machines used in Monday’s polling are kept at 90 strongrooms set up at 59 different locations, he said.
Personnel from the state police and paramilitary forces are guarding the strongrooms round the clock, he added. Inder Jeet said a three-tier security system is in place.
Central police forces personnel are deployed near the strongrooms in the first layer, Haryana Armed Police personnel are posted in the second layer and district police personnel man the outer layer. While most exit polls projected a comfortable victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party, one predicted a close fight between the BJP and Congress with the Jannayak Janta Party likely to play kingmaker.
The JJP came into existence after a split last year in the Indian National Lok Dal. Most exit polls predict that the INLD, founded by former deputy prime minister Devi Lal, will be decimated.
Haryana on Monday recorded a voter turnout of over 68 per cent, a sharp decline from 76.54 in the 2014 assembly polls. Of the total voters, 69.36 percent were men and 67.12 per cent women.
In Maharashtra, the exit polls have predicted that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will retain power comfortably. Around 25,000 personnel have been deployed on counting duty, an election official said on Wednesday. Police have also made adequate arrangements to ensure the counting passes off peacefully, he added.
Counting of votes for the 288 Assembly segments will be conducted at 269 locations, the officials said. The polling held on Monday saw a voter turnout of 61.13 per cent, a dip from the 63.20 per cent recorded in 2014, the official said. The highest turnout, of 83.93 per cent, was reported in the Karveer assembly seat in Kolhapur, while the lowest was in south Mumbai’s upmarket Colaba area at 40.11 per cent.
In the Satara Lok Sabha bypoll, also held on Monday, the voter turnout was 67.15 per cent, the official said. The bypoll was necessitated after NCP MP Udayanraje Bhosale quit the party and his Lok Sabha seat and joined the ruling BJP, which renominated him from the constituency.
The ruling BJP-Shiv Sena combine is arrayed against the opposition Congress-NCP with the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi being the dominant player among the other parties. Most exit polls, released immediately after polling ended on Monday evening, have given the ruling alliance a comfortable majority in the 288-member Assembly.
The state has 8,98,39,600 eligible voters, including 1,06,76,013 in the age group of 18 to 25 years. Nearly 6.5 lakh polling personnel were deployed at 96,661 polling booths across the state on election day.