Bhopal: Amid reports of violence at a few places, an estimated 66.28 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 6 PM on Tuesday in the crucial bypolls to 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, an official said. Also Read - Centre Invites Protesting Farmers to Hold Talks Today Even as They Vow to Continue Agitation | 10 Points
One person was injured in stray incidents of violence, police said. The average voting percentage in the 2018 assembly polls in these 28 constituencies, most of them in the Gwalior -Chambal region, was 72.93, the official said. Also Read - Madhya Pradesh Govt In Process of Bringing Love Jihad Law: CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan
The polling figure of 66.28 per cent was provisional and it will be updated later, he said. A total of 355 candidates, including 12 ministers, are in the fray in these bypolls. Also Read - Centre Invites Farmers For Talks on Dec 3 After Allowing Them to Enter Delhi For Peaceful Protest | Key Points
Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and BJP Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia cast their ballots at a booth in Gwalior district.
As the voting progressed, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan reached the BJP office in Bhopal in the afternoon and held discussions with party leaders.
Former chief minister Kamal Nath and other senior Congress leaders, including Digvijaya Singh, monitored the polling from a control room set up at the state party office in the state capital.
In Morena district, Congress and BJP supporters clashed at the Jatavara polling booth and an unidentified person fired a bullet during the incident, Superintendent of Police Anurag Sujania said.
“A person was injured, but it was not clear whether he received wounds due to the gunshot or was hit by a stick.
“It will be clear only after medical examination. The injured person was referred to the district hospital for treatment,” the official said.
In Bhind, Collector Virendra Singh Rawat said they received a report about gunshots being fired near a booth in Sondha village under Mehgaon Assembly constituency. The report was being verified, Rawat said.
Polling began at 7 am with COVID-19 prevention protocols in place and continued till 6 pm, the official said. Those in queue till 6 pm would be allowed to vote, he said.
“A total of 66.28 per cent of the eligible voters cast their ballot till 6 pm in the 28 Assembly seats spread across the state’s 19 districts,” the official said.
The highest voter turnout (81.26 per cent) was reported from the Badnawar constituency and the lowest (42.99 per cent) from Gwalior-East, he said.
A release issued by the office of MP’s chief electoral officer said 63 control units, 65 ballot units and 196 VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) machines were changed during mock polling conducted before the beginning of voting.
After the voting began, 29 ballot units, 23 control units and 88 VVPAT machines were changed till 11 am across the 28 Assembly seats, the release said.
Madhya Pradesh has a 230-member assembly but at present its effective strength is 229 because recently one more Congress MLA resigned from his seat tojoin the BJP.
The BJP currently has 107 MLAs and it needs to win eight more seats to attain a simple majority in the House.
The Congress’s tally has been reduced to 87 after the resignation of 26 MLAs since March this year. Among others, the house has two BSP, one SP and four Independent members.
The by-elections on 28 seats was necessitated after the resignation of 25 Congress MLAs and death of three sitting legislators.
One more seat – Damoh – fell vacant following the resignation of sitting Congress MLA Rahul Lodhi a fortnight ago. However, bypoll for the Damoh seat is yet to be held.