A combination picture of big names contesting fifth phase of the Lok Sabha polls on April 17. (Photos from agencies)
File photo of Maneka Gandhi, BJP candidate from Pilibhit. (AFP Photo)
File photo of Sachin Pilot, Congress candidate from Ajmer. (AFP Photo)
Former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa addressing an election campaign meeting for party candidate from Dharawad Lok Sabha seat at Moorusvira Math in Hubli. (PTI Photo)
NCP candidate Sanjeev Naik along with NCP leaders Supriya Sule and other party workers during a roadshow in Thane, Maharashtra. (PTI Photo)
Congress candidate Subodh Kant Sahay with supporters after filing his nomination papers in Ranchi. (PTI Photo)
Congress candidate from Solapur, Sushilkumar Shinde, being garlanded at a rally.
BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Patna Sahib seat Shatrughan Sinha gestures at an election campaign rally in Patna. (PTI Photo)
Former RJD MP and BJP candidate Ram Kripal Yadav at an election meeting after filing his nomination papers in Patna. (PTI photo)
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia and Lok Sabha candidate Parveen Amanullah during an election campaign in Patna. (PTI Photo)
Maharashtra registered 61.7% voter turnout in the second phase of the Lok Sabha polls in the state on Thursday.
Nearly 32.5 million voters decided the fate of 358 candidates, including Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, former chief minister Ashok Chavan and NCP chief Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule.
In power since 1999, the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance is battling decade-long anti-incumbency and facing a tough challenge from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led combine in the state.
The BJP, which is bullish about forming about the next government at the Centre, has the Shiv Sena, Republican Party of India (RPI) and the Swabhimani Shetakari Sanghatana (SSS) in its alliance.
Despite the mercury touching 39 degrees Celsius, voters of all ages thronged polling booths across 19 constituencies — 12 from western Maharashtra's sugar belt, six from central Maharashtra and one from Konkan.
Some of the bigwigs of the Congress-NCP combine such as Sharad Pawar, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Prithviraj Chavan come from western Maharashtra.
Traditionally, a high turnout indicates anti-incumbency. Many youngsters said they voted for a change.
However, Election Commission (EC) officials said the high voting percentage could be attributed to extension of deadline from 5pm to 6pm.
After casting his vote from Solapur, Shinde said, "There is no Modi wave in this part. If there is any (wave), it's a Shinde wave." The Union home minister is fighting from Solapur.
Anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare, after casting his vote from native Ralegan Siddhi village in Ahmednagar district, said, "If you don't like any candidate fighting polls in your constituency, press NOTA button."
Former chief minister Ashok Chavan, who had to quit three years ago over the alleged involvement in the Adarsh Housing scam, cast his vote at a booth in Nanded city. He was accompanied by his wife and other family members.
A week ago, polling in 10 seats of Vidarbha region was held in the first round. Maharashtra accounts for the highest number of Lok Sabha seats (48) after Uttar Pradesh (80) and pollsters see it as one of the key states in the race for numbers.
The third and final round of polling in the state is on April 24.
In round two, the largest constituency, electorate wise, was Maval with 19,46,127 voters, while Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg was the smallest with 13,63,957 voters.
(With PTI inputs)
Constituency wise voter turnouts:
Ratnagiri- Sindhudurg: 60%
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Here's a map of the constituencies going to polls on Thursday. On searching, you will get details of all parties fighting from a constituency and its key candidates: