Around 62 per cent turnout was registered in the polling held today for the Chandrapur, Parbhani and Latur municipal corporations in Maharashtra, State Election Commissioner J S Saharia said. Due to extreme heat conditions prevalent in several parts of the state, the voting timing was extended by one hour to 6.30pm by the state Election Commission. "Chandrapur, Parbhani and Latur recorded 57 per cent, 70 per cent and 60 per cent voting, respectively. Around 62 per cent people exercised their franchise in the polls today," Saharia said. The elections to three municipal corporations are considered as an acid test for the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress and the NCP. A total of 1,285 candidates are in the fray for the 201 seats in the three municipal corporations, whose fate will be decided by 7.93 lakh voters across 1,038 polling stations. The stakes are high especially for the BJP as it is not in power in these three municipal corporations. Chandrapur is the home turf of senior BJP leader and Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.
At present Congress is in power in this 66-member civic body. As many as 460 candidates are in the fray whose fate will be decided by 3.02 lakh voters. In the 70-member Latur corporation, it will a test of political clout for BJP leader and state minister Sambhajirao Nilangekar and the local Congress MLA Amit Deshmukh. Congress, which controls the corporation, had got a drubbing in the recent local body polls in Latur district. The city had faced acute water crisis last year and government had to transport water by railway waggons at the peak of summer. Here 407 candidates are in the fray whose fate will be decided by 2.78 lakh voters. In the 65-member Parbhani municipal corporation, the battle is mainly between the incumbent NCP and Shiv Sena. It will be a test for district guardian minister and senior Sena leader Diwakar Raote. There are 418 candidates in the fray; number of voters is 2.12 lakh. Counting of votes will be done in April 21.
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