Amid high security, polling began this morning to elect the 288-member Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.

Over 1.29 lakh state police and Central paramilitary forces (CPMF) have been deployed across the state to ensure fair and peaceful poll, State’s DGP for elections A N Roy said.

Adequate CPMF contingents have been deployed in Naxal-hit Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts of Vidarbha to thwart any attempt by the Maoists to disrupt the election process, he said, without divulging their numbers for strategic reasons.

On October eight, 17 policemen were killed in an ambush by the Naxals in Gadchiroli district.

The fate of 3,559 candidates, including Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, his deputy Chhagan Bhujbal and 37 ministers will be decided by an electorate of 7,56,34,525.

There are 1,820 Independents, mostly rebels in fray. The number of women candidates is 211.

There are 84,136 polling stations. “We are fully prepared and all measures have been put in place to ensure a free, fair and incident-free voting day,” he said.

Adequate security measures have been made, Chakravorty said, adding about 4,78,115 polling staff has been put on poll duty.

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