Months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the BJP to a massive win in the national elections, Maharashtra and Haryana are voting today to elect their next state government and by-elections are also being held in 53 seats across 17 states and one union territory. In both Haryana and Maharashtra, the BJP is seeking a second term in power and Congress, which suffered a heavy setback in national elections, is trying to gain the lost ground. The exit polls, based on research by various agencies, or the NDTV 'poll of exit polls', which show an aggregate of the various exit polls for a more accurate measure, will be out this evening after voting ends.
The Election Commission of India has issued specific guidelines for publishing or telecast of exit polls. There will be a ban on exit polls till 6:30 pm, the Election Commission said in a statement. The NDTV coverage will begin at 6:00 pm; however the poll of polls will be out after 6:30 pm.
The poll body had earlier announced bypolls for 64 seats, but later announced that the by-election for 15 seats in Karnataka will be held at a later date. The Election Commission also announced bypolls for an additional for seats - 2 Lok Sabha constituencies, and two Assembly by-elections, taking the total number of constituencies where by-elections are being held, to 53.
Earlier today, PM Modi, who led an aggressive election campaign for state polls in Haryana and Maharashtra, appealed to the people to step out and vote in large numbers.
"Elections are taking place for Haryana and Maharashtra assemblies. There are also by-polls taking place in various parts of India. I urge voters in these states and seats to turnout in record numbers and enrich the festival of democracy. I hope youngsters vote in large numbers," he tweeted this morning.
In Maharashtra, the BJP is contesting on 150 seats, the Shiv Sena on 124 seats. The rest of the 288 seats are for smaller allies. In the opposition camp, the Congress is contesting 146 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party on 117 seats. The Sena-BJP alliance currently hold 217 seats, the Congress and the NCP 56 seats.
In Haryana, the ruling BJP is locked in contest with the Congress and the fledgling JJP (Jannayak Janta Party) for the 90 assembly seats. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has set a target of 75 of 90 assembly seats. Last time, the BJP won 48 seats, the Congress 17.
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