Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said he is confident that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will form the next government in Maharashtra with a "record-breaking victory". Mr Gadkari, who was among the early voters in Nagpur, said people will vote on the basis of the five-year performance of the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the state government under Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
"The BJP-Sena will have a record-breaking victory and Fadnavis will be the chief minister again," Mr Gadkari told reporters after voting. He asked people to come out to vote, adding NOTA (none of the above) was not a good option in democracy.
Besides Mr Gadkari, Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule and her mother Pratibha Pawar were also among the early voters in Pune. "The Congress-NCP alliance will form the next government," said Ms Sule, the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Former state deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, who is the nephew of the NCP chief, also voted in Baramati. He is the NCP's candidate from this assembly seat.
The early voters included Union Minister Raosaheb Danve, who voted at Bhokardan in Jalna. Udayanraje Bhosale, who quit the NCP and is the BJP's nominee for the bypoll to Satara Lok Sabha in the state, voted in Satara.
Former Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde voted in Solapur, where his daughter Praniti Shinde is seeking a third term as MLA.
Former chief minister Ashok Chavan and his family members voted at a school in Nanded. Mr Chavan is the Congress's nominee from Bhokar in Nanded.
In Mumbai, where it has been raining for the last two days, state school education minister Ashish Shelar voted in suburban Bandra. Mr Shelar is the BJP's candidate from Bandra-West seat.
Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde voted in Aurangabad district. State Housing Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and his family members cast voted in Ahmednagar.
Former cricketer Sandeep Patil, who also among the early voters at Shivaji Park in Mumbai, said more than the party, the merit of an individual candidate was important. "We should vote for candidates who work for their constituencies," he said.
Polling began this morning in all 288 assembly seats of the state.