Polling for eight Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh commenced on Sunday with Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia being among the early voters. Scindia, who is seeking a re-election from Guna seat, went early in the morning to exercise his democratic right at a booth in his constituency after the polling began at 7 am.
State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) VL Kantha Rao and his wife were also among the early ones to cast their votes at the Char Imli booth in the state capital Bhopal.
A poll volunteer allowed an around 80-year-old woman to jump the queue and cast the first vote at the Char Imli booth, where names of several VIPs are listed, Rao said.
The CEO, who and his wife were the first two in the queue, praised the volunteer’s gesture.
“During mock poll conducted before the actual voting began, around 30 to 40 electronic voting machines (EVMs) were changed after some technical problems were found. Polling was going on peacefully in all the eight seats,” Rao told PTI after casting his ballot.
This is the third phase of polling in MP, the first and second phases for six and seven seats, respectively, having been held on April 29 and May 6.
Long queues were seen at various booths in the eight seats of Bhopal, Morena, Bhind, Gwalior, Guna, Sagar, Vidisha and Rajgarh where polling was underway, another official said.
In Bhopal seat, Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh is locked in a battle with BJP’s nominee and 2008 Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur.
In Guna, Scindia’s opponent is the BJP’s KP Yadav who is contesting his first parliamentary elections.
Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who is the sitting MP from Gwalior, is in the fray from Morena seat this time.
In Vidisha, BJP’s Ramakant Bhargava is contesting against Congress’ former MLA Shailendra Patel.
Altogether 138 candidates, including 14 women, are in the fray for these eight Lok Sabha seats, of which seven were won by the BJP in 2014.
There are 30 nominees inBhopal, 25 in Morena, 18 each in Bhind and Gwalior, 13 each in Guna and Vidisha, 11 in Rajgarh and 10 in Sagar, Rao said.
Total 18,141 polling booths have been set up where over 1.44 crore people, including 32,909 service voters, are eligible to exercise their franchise, he said.
Over 45,000 security personnel have been deployed for the smooth conduct of the polls.
Lok Sabha elections to 29 seats in the state are being held in four phases. Voting for the last phase in eight seats will be held on May 19 and counting of votes will take place on May 23.