60-72 pc voting in Maharashtra, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh assembly polls

      About 60 to 72 per cent voting was witnessed in Tuesday's Assembly elections held in three States - Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh - amidst sporadic violence in which one polling agent was killed. Maharashtra registered 60 per cent turnout of voters while Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh saw a much higher polling of 66 per cent and 72 per cent respectively, said Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla in a conference in the national capital in the evening. Mumbai and its suburbs witnessed a voter turnout of 50 per cent. A 48-year-old polling agent of an independent candidate was killed in a clash with supporters of a Congress nominee in Gulha assembly constituency in Haryana's Kaithal district. Despite the massacre of 17 policemen five days ago and poll boycott call given by naxals in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district, an estimated 55 per cent of electorate cast votes while neighbouring Gondia, also hit by Maoist menace recorded a 68 per cent turnout. Also, stray incidents of firing were reported from Gadchiroli district where polling could not take place at 22 polling station as the staff failed to reach the destinations because naxals put up obstacles. Meanwhile, the first exit poll released an hour after polls in Maharashtra concluded at 5.00, gave the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party an edge over the rest. The first to release its exit polls results was CNN-IBN channel which stated its results were based on early trends. According to the exit polls, the Cong-NCP alliance is likely to get between 135 to 145 of the 288 seats in Maharashtra. The second alliance - the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) group -- is likely to get between 105 to 115 seats. Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is likely to get 8 to 12 seats in the elections held on Tuesday. The Third Front and independents put together would bag between 25 and 35 seats. According to the IBN Lokmat and CNN-IBN, the Congress likely to be single largest party with 75 to 85 seats in the Assembly. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's NCP is likely to win 55 to 65 seats in the elections.

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