In the five-cornered contest in Maharashtra, which has 8.35 crore voters, polling started on a brisk note, slowed down around noon but again picked up and over 55 per cent of the electorate had cast their votes.

Technical problems in electronic voting machines (EVMs) were reported from some polling booths in Nagpur city and Wardha district in Vidarbha, and Sewree in Mumbai. Voters in a Nashik booth also complained that the voter rolls were not in order.

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A policeman on election duty was killed after being struck by lightning in Avdeghat polling station of Savner constituency in Vidarbha, where polling in some parts was marred by rains.

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The highest voter turnout was witnessed in Kagal constituency of Kolhapur district while the lowest was at Bramhapuri constituency in Chandrapur district, officials said.

Two persons were injured in firing during a clash between INLD and BJP supporters in Haryana's Sirsa. A minor clash also occurred between the supporters of Haryana Lokhit Party of Gopal Kanda and INLD workers in the district. Kanda, a former Haryana Minister, is seeking re-election from Sirsa


There were glitches in EVM machines at a couple of places in the state, which recorded over 76 percent polling.

Among the early voters in Mahasrashtra were former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who cast his vote in Karad in western Maharashtra, from where he is a candidate, former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar in Baramati, former Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in Solapur, Leader of Opposition in Council Vinod Tawde in Mumbai and NCP MP Supriya Sule and her mother Pratibha Pawar.

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NCP chief Sharad Pawar cast his vote in Mumbai, while Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was joined by his wife and son Aditya. State BJP president Devendra Fadnavis, a front runner for chief ministerial post in case BJP comes to power, also cast his vote.

Among Bollywood personalities who went to polling booths in Mumbai early today were Rekha, Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Amol Palekar, BJP MP Hema Malini and her daughter Esha, Anupam Kher, Salman Khan and Sonali Bendre.

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar also cast his vote.

Voters will decide the fate of 4,119 candidates in the fray in 288 seats in Maharashtra. Counting of votes will take place on October 19.

While BJP today claimed that the Modi effect will help it wrest the two states, Congress leaders expressed confidence that the voters will favour it once again.

Sharad Pawar's NCP claimed that the BJP had not lived up to the expectations of the people after the mandate it got in Lok Sabh election and it will face the repercussions in Maharashtra.

"I am confident that people will choose Congress this time also for the work done in last 15 years," Prithviraj Chavan said after casting his vote in Karad.

In Haryana, barring glitches in EVM machines at a couple of places, polling was going on smoothly.
However, BJP candidate from Narnaund assembly segment, Abhimanyu, alleged that attempts to capture booth were made in Baas village in the constituency at behest of INLD, which denied the charge.

"There has been a change in the government at the Centre, major alliances have ended, and all political parties are taking their chances in this poll," he said.

I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar, who cast his vote in Pune, said, "People are voting for change, good governance and decisive government which Narendra Modi has offered."

"People are voting in this poll with even more enthusiasm than they did in the Lok Sabha poll. If the Lok Sabha polls were Dhoom, the Assembly polls are Dhoom 2, the sequel," he said.

Evading queries on possible post-poll alliance, BJP leaders claimed that the party will get a complete majority.

Amid tight security, polling commenced in all the 90 Haryana assembly seats at 7 AM and would continue till 6 PM to decide the fate of 1,351 candidates.

Brisk polling was on in Fatehabad, Hisar, Gurgaon, Jind, Mewat, Palwal and Yamunanagar while it was moderate at other places including Panchkula, Karnal and Rewari districts.
    
In Narnaund, BJP candidate from the assembly segment and Chief Ministerial aspirant Abhimanyu alleged that attempts to capture booth were made in Baans village in the constituency at the behest of rival INLD, which vehemently denied the charge.

Abhimanyu told reporters in Narnaund that wires of web-casting camera were cut in Booth No 140 and attempt was made to capture booth by the 'goondas'.

This is hyper sensitive booth, he said, "but the police administration is sitting like a mute spectator".

A spokesman of the INLD said that Abhimanyu was levelling false allegations "out of sheer frustration sensing his imminent defeat".

Among the candidates who cast their votes early was Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in his home district of Rohtak.

Ahead of the polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led an aggressive poll campaign for the BJP, which is for the first time seeking to come to power in Haryana on its own.
  
"He (Modi) addressed 11 rallies. It looked as if he was trying to become the Chief Minister of Haryana," Hooda said after casting his vote.
 
Over 1.63 crore voters including over 87 lakh women are eligible to cast their vote in the polls, in which stakes are high for the three main contenders including ruling Congress, BJP and INLD.

The kin of the three famous 'Lals' (Bansi Lal, Bhajan Lal and Devi Lal) are also battling it out in the state.

The highest number of 116 women contestants is in fray this time.

By-election are also being held to Beed Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra and Kandhamal Lok Sabha contituency.

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While BJP today claimed that the Modi effect will help it wrest the two states, Congress leaders expressed confidence that the voters will favour it once again.

 

Sharad Pawar's NCP claimed that the BJP had not lived up to the expectations of the people after the mandate it got in Lok Sabh election and it will face the repercussions in Maharashtra.

 

"I am confident that people will choose Congress this time also for the work done in last 15 years," Prithviraj Chavan said after casting his vote in Karad.