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Maharashtra, Haryana election results today: Lotus set to bloom again, Opposition hopes for comeback

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New Delhi, Oct 24: The counting for the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly and 90-member Haryana Assembly, as well the bypolls will be declared on Thursday. Both Maharashtra and Haryana are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which came to power in the states in 2014. The counting of votes will commence at 8 AM and by 12 noon, a final picture could emerge on who would be the major players in the two states.

Maharashtra, Haryana election results today: BJP looks to bloom again, Opposition hopes for comeback

Well, if exit polls are to be believed, in Maharashtra, pollsters have predicted a clear majority for the BJP-led alliance, comprising the Shiv Sena and other parties in the 288-member Assembly. Some even predicted that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will cross the halfway mark on their own and the BJP will win more seats than its ally Shiv Sena.

During the 2014 assembly elections, BJP had emerged as the single largest party with 122 seats while Shiv Sena won 63 seats. Meanwhile, Congress had failed to entice voters and got only 42 seats and NCP bagged 41 seats.

Altogether 3,237 candidates including 235 women are contesting in the elections.

The BJP is contesting 164 seats, which include candidates of smaller allies contesting on its lotus symbol, while Sena has fielded candidates on 126 seats. On the other hand, the Congress has fielded 147 candidates and the ally NCP 121.

Among other parties, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), led by Raj Thackeray, has fielded 101 candidates, the CPI 16, the CPM 8. The BSP has fielded candidates in 262 constituencies. A total of 1400 Independents are also in the poll arena.

While in Haryana, there is an interesting factor to watch out for. While most exit polls predicted a BJP victory, some forecast that the party might not be able to achieve its 'ab ki baar 75 dream' goal. The India Today-Axis My India exit polls predicted even a closer race -- the poll forecast a hung assembly in the state.

The BJP in Haryana, which is aiming to win more than 75 seats had won 47 seats in the 2014 assembly polls.

The Congress is hoping to make a comeback following the change in guard in the state, the BJP has set a target to bag at least 75 seats in the contest in which 1,169 candidates of various political outfits are in the fray.

The Dushyant Chautala-led Jannayak Janta Party (JJP), a breakaway faction of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), is also hoping for an improvement in its prospects following the Lok Sabha debacle.

Key candidates to watch out for:

Maharashtra:

CM Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders Chhagan Bhujbal, Ajit Pawar, former Maharashtra CM and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan are among the keenly watched candidates from Maharashtra.

Haryana:

CM Khattar, Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) leader Dushyant Chautala, wrestler Babita Phogat, 2012 Olympics bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt, TikTok sensation, Sonali Phogat are among the key candidates.

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