Bhopal, Nov 28 (IECurrentAffairs) Approximately 22 per cent polling was recorded till noon today in Madhya Pradesh that is witnessing single-phase voting across 230 assembly constituencies amid tight security.
The polling was by and large peaceful. The official timings are 0800-1700 hrs but three areas in Naxalism-affected Balaghat district are witnessing voting between 0700-1500 hrs.
“Balaghat’s Paraswada recorded 10.08 per cent, Lanji 8.58 per cent and Baihar 7.50 per cent,” Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao told journalists.
Two officials died following heart attack while on duty. One death each was reported from Guna and Indore districts. Compensation of Rs 10 lakh each will be handed over to the next of kin.
Seventy electronic voting machines (EVMs) and Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units were replaced following complaints and technical glitches. The highest number of 17 EVMs and VVPAT units were replaced in Guna district. Figures were 11 in Raghogarh constituency, four in Gwalior, a few in Bhopal district’s Huzur and Narela.
A 5,04,33,079-strong electorate – including 2,41,30,390 women and more than 1,000 of the third gender – is expected to decide the fortunes of 2,899 candidates including 250 women and five of the third gender. The caste-wise break-up is 1,794 of the general category, 591 of the Scheduled Castes and 514 of the Scheduled Tribes. Chhatarpur has the maximum seven lady aspirants and Mehgaon the highest number of male nominees at 33.
As many as 78,870 ballot units, 65,367 control units and 65,367 VVPAT units are being utilised. There are a total 65,341 polling centres where in excess of three lakh officials are on duty. More than 10,000 reserve units are available so that replacements may be effected within 30 minutes. Mock polling was conducted in the presence of candidates prior to actual voting; webcasting and closed-circuit television have been arranged at 6,500 sensitive centres, videography is being undertaken at 4,600 centres and micro-observers number 12,363.
Central Armed Police Forces personnel are deployed at 11,900 centres besides 1.80 lakh state police personnel. A total 41,000 vehicles have been requisitioned. Special arrangements are in place for the elderly, differently-able people and pregnant women.
The prestige of numerous stalwarts of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), principal-opposition Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is at stake. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in Budhni against former Union Minister Arun Yadav of the Congress. In Hoshangabad, Vidhan Sabha Speaker Sitasaran Sharma is fighting Mr Sartaj Singh who entered Congress ranks after exiting the saffron party.
The BJP has fielded candidates in all 230 constituencies, the Congress has ceded Jatara to its alliance partner Loktantrik Janata Dal, the BSP is contesting 227, Aam Aadmi Party 208, Sapaks Party 110, Shiv Sena 81, Gondwana Gantantra Party 73 and Samajwadi Party 52. There are 94 independents.
Counting is scheduled on December 11