Counting of votes for the Maharashtra Assembly election began at 8 am on Thursday and the results will be declared by 5 pm by the Election Commission.

Election to the 288-seat Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra was held in a single phase on October 21.

Maharashtra registered a low voter turnout of 60.05 per cent until 6 pm, down from 63.08 per cent in 2014.

While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is seeking to make history by returning to power in the state, the Opposition led by the Congress party is fighting for political relevance.

In Maharashtra, the ‘Mahayuti’ alliance of BJP, Shiv Sena and smaller parties is up against the ‘Maha-agadhi’ led by the Congress and the NCP.

As many as 3,237 candidates, including 235 women, contested in 288 seats.

Out of 288 assembly seats in Maharastra, the BJP, which is seeking a second straight term under Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Maharashtra, is contesting 164 seats, which include candidates of smaller allies contesting on its lotus symbol, while Sena has fielded candidates on 126 seats.

Prominent candidates in the fray are Chief Minister Fadnavis and his predecessors from Congress, Ashok Chavan, who is in fray from Bhokar in Nanded district, and Prithviraj Chavan seeking re-election from Karad South in Satara district.

Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, son of Uddhav Thackeray, is contesting from Worli in Mumbai. The 29-year-old is the first from the Thackeray family to make debut in electoral politics.

The exit polls have predicted a resounding comeback for the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP-Shiv Sena combine in Maharashtra. At least 4 out of 6 exit polls have predicted that the saffron combine will be back with more than 200 seats in the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly.