The voter turnout in both Maharashtra and Haryana showed a slump in today's assembly polls as compared to 2014, indicating that the BJP could hold on to power in both the states.
While Maharashtra registered a provisional voter turnout of 60.05% until 6 pm, down from 63.08% in 2014, Haryana scored 65%, down from 76.54% in the previous election. Traditional logic dictates that the incumbent government is likely to continue in power if fewer people turn out to vote.
The Election Commission released these figures even as exit polls showed BJP-led alliances returning to power in both the states, in some instances registering wide-margin victories over their electoral rivals. In Maharashtra, an aggregate of various exit polls gave the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance 211 of the state's 288 seats and the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) just 64 constituencies. In Haryana, it predicted that the BJP is likely to win 66 of 90 seats while the Congress scores 14.
Haryana's Gurugram, which figures in the national capital region, registered a voter turnout of just 51.20% as compared to 64.11% in the 2014 assembly elections. Maharashtra capital Mumbai, which has traditionally scrimped on voting, performed even worse at 44.78%.
Mumbai's voter turnout remained below 50% in elections held between 1999 and 2009, but improved its tally slightly in 2014 to cross the halfway mark. This year, the city registered its highest-ever turnout in the general elections with 55 per cent people coming out to exercise their voting rights. Today's performance, however, belied any hope that its voters have turned a new leaf.
Elections were held in 90 constituencies across Haryana today, with 1,169 candidates -- including 105 women -- hoping to be elected to the state assembly. Maharashtra, on the other hand, had as many as 3,237 candidates -- including 235 women -- contesting on 288 seats in what was seen as a direct battle between the BJP-Shiv Sena coalition and the Congress-NCP alliance.
Bypolls were also held simultaneously in many parts of the country.
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