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Chandigarh: The BJP on Thursday established a substantial lead as the counting of votes for Assembly elections progressed in Maharashtra and Haryana.

In Maharashtra, the BJP was leading at 83 seats and its ally Shiv Sena was ahead at 53 in the 288-member Assembly, according to IANS-CVoter.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) was leading at 30 seats and it's coalition partner Congress was ahead at 21 seats.

The trends available from 91 constituencies also indicated that Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) was leading at 3 seats, BSP at 1 and others at 3 seats.

In Haryana, where 90 Assembly seats are at stake, the BJP was leading in 49 constituencies, the Congress in 17 and Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) in 4, according to the early trends

The much-awaited counting of votes for the 90 Assembly seats of Haryana and 288 Maharashtra Assembly constituencies which went to polls on October 21 began on Thursday morning amidst tight security, electoral officials said. The first trends are expected by 10 a.m.

Amid reports of minor skirmishes, 68.31 per cent voting was recorded in Haryana on October 21. The result will decide the fate of 1,169 candidates, including 105 women and a transgender.

Joint Chief Electoral Officer Inder Jeet told IANS that 91 counting centres have been set up at 59 places. He said each counting centre would be equipped with a three-tire security system.

The main contest is between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.

However, all eyes are on Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Congress leaders Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Randeep Surjewala, Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) leader Dushyant Chautala and Indian National Lok Dal's (INLD) Abhay Chautala.

While the BJP, the Congress and the JJP are contesting on all 90 seats, the BSP is in the fray on 87 seats, and the INLD is contesting on 81 seats. There are some 375 candidates contesting as independents.

Riding high on pro-incumbency and the Modi wave, Khattar believes he will take his party's tally to '75 plus' from the present 47 legislators, while Hooda of the Congress has been raising the pitch against unemployment, law and order and lack of development.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena and the Opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party are the main parties in the fray, besides Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Prakash Ambedkar's Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, the Owaisi's All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party.

Tight security, with over 2,00,000 police personnel has been deployed as more than 25,000 election officials started the counting of votes all across the state.

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