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BJP, Shiv Sena look on course to retain power in Maharashtra

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Mumbai:The ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance on Thursday looked on course to retaining power in Maharashtra as per early trends of counting of votes available so far.

Of the trends in 81 of 288 Assembly seats available so far, BJP is leading in 26, Shiv Sena in 22, while opposition Congress is ahead in seven seats and NCP in 17.

The Sharad Pawar led party appeared to have fared better than its parent party and was seen performing well in Western Maharashtra.

The Independents were ahead in four seats.

BJP candidate Udayanraje Bhosale is trailing behind NCP nominee Shriniwas Patil by 1,089 votes in Satara Lok Sabha seat bypoll after the first round of counting.

Shiv Sena's Aaditya Thackeray has established a comfortable lead in Worli assembly constituency where he is making his electoral debut.

The 29-year-old Thackeray scion is pitted against NCP's Suresh Mane and has established a lead of over 7000 votes as per early trends.

Former deputy chief Minister Ajit Pawar has established a lead of 6595 votes over his BJP rival Gopichand Padalkar in Baramati.

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde was leading over his rival and BJP minister Pankaja Munde by 1,654 votes in Parli.

Counting of votes for all the 288 Assembly segments began at 8 am on Thursday at 269 locations in the state, an official said.

Exit polls have predicted a comfortable win for the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government in the state.

 Around 25,000 personnel are deployed on counting duty, an election official said, adding police have also made adequate arrangements to ensure a smooth counting process.

The polling held on Monday saw a voter turnout of 61.13 per cent, a dip from the 63.20 per cent recorded in 2014, the official said.

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