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Maharashtra to vote on October 21, new Government to be in place on October 24

Mumbai: Maharashtra will go to polls in a single phase on October 21 (Monday) to elect a new 288 Member Legislative Assembly and on October 24, just a day before Diwali festival begins, the state will have its new government. With the ECIs Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora announcing the dates in New Delhi on Saturday, September 21, 2019, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) has come into immediate effect. The term of the current 13th Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha comes to an end on November 9 (Saturday) and before that the new 14th Legislative Assembly has to come into existence.

Giving details of the poll schedule, the CEC informed that special security arrangements will be made for Left Wing Extremist (LWE) affected areas of Gadchiroli and Gondia district’s of Maharashtra. He added that the ECI officials have visited both Maharashtra and Haryana to conduct on-ground surveys. The ECI has not announced the by-poll date for the Satara Lok Sabha constituency, following the sitting Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Udayan Raje Bhosale tendering his resignation and joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) recently.

As per the assembly election schedule announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday, the Notification for filing of nominations will be issued on September 27 (Friday), last date for filing of nominations is October 4 (Friday), Scrutiny of Nomination papers will be taken up on October 5 (Saturday), the Last Date for Withdrawal of Nomination papers is October 7 (Monday). The 8.95 crore voters of Maharashtra will cast their ballot across the 288 assembly constituencies on October 21 (Monday). While, the Counting of votes and declaration of Results will be held on October 24 (Thursday).

In all 1.8 lakh Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and 1.39 lakh Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) machines will be used in this elections in Maharashtra. Five VVPAT voter slips from each of the VVPAT machines in all the 288 Assembly constituencies will be taken up for matching the vote count of the EVM. The ECI has fixed the maximum limit for election campaign expenditure by the candidates at Rs 28 lakhs. There are 95,473 polling stations in Maharashtra, which is a 5.61 percent increase from the 2014 polls.

The notification for commencement of filling of nomination papers will be issued on September 27 which is the second last day of pious Pitrupaksha. It is expected that candidates will begin filing their nomination papers after the nine day Navratri festival begins on September 29. The Counting of Votes and Declaration of Results will be on October 24, which comes day before the commencement of Diwali festival from October 25 (Dhanteras/Friday). Diwali festival ends on October 29 (Tuesday). The entire election process will be completed on October 27 Laxmi Pujan day, which is a Sunday.

In the 2014 Assembly elections, the BJP had won 122 seats, Shiv Sena 63 seats, Congress 42 seats, NCP 41 seats, Independent’s 7 seats, Peasants and Workers Party of India (PWPI) 3, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) 3 seats, MIM 2 seats, BBM 1 seat, CPI-M 1 seat, MNS 1 seat, RSP 1 seat and Samajwadi Party 1 seat. In 2014, the Assembly elections in Maharashtra was held on October 15 and counting of votes and results were declared on October 19. The voter population then was 8.35 crore and the polling percentage then was 63.08 percent.

As per the new features introduced, the visually challenged voters will get Braille Photo Voter Slips. The ECI will issue a Voter Guide both in vernacular and English language to each and every household. All the EVMs and VVPATs used in the elections will be tracked by GPS under the EVM Management System (EMS). The ballot paper on the EVM will have the Photograph of the candidate against his or her name. All the contesting candidates will have to submit their PAN number.

The ECI has banned the use of PVC Flex Boards and other non-bio-degradable materials for campaigning. A silence period between 10.00 pm in the night to 6.00 am in the morning will be strictly implemented. This time around the candidates and political parties get just 30 days of actual election campaign time.

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