Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly Election LATEST updates: After 12pm, the EC officials in MP said that around 250 EVMs had been replaced in the ongoing elections. The number is expected to increase as reports pour in. At several places, even the replaced machine did not function properly, and had to be replaced yet again. At least 1,545 VVPATs also had to be replaced. Meanwhile Congress leader Kamal Nath alleged that the voting seems to be getting affected only in regions which were Congress' stronghold.
A total of 37.26 percent were polled in Madhya Pradesh till 2.30 pm. Kamal Nath's home district Chhindwara saw the maximum turnout with 45.62 percent votes polled, while Morena was the district with the lowest voting percentage at just 29.78 percent turnout.
Incidences of violence have been report from Bhind district today. Gunshots were fired in front of two polling booths. Sources said that the assailants have fled the spot and the firing was done with the intention of disrupting the polling exercise.
Responding to Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia's demand to extend polling time in booths where EVM malfunction thwarted voting, Chief election Commissioner OP Rawat said that there are provisions for extension of time in the law, and the local officers can take a call on it.
As Reports of EVM snags continue to filter in, Congress leader Kamal Nath alleged that the voting seems to be getting affected only in regions which were Congress' stronghold. While Nath said that the poll panel should consider holding re-polls if the polling cannot continue in an uninterrupted fair way, his party colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia demanded that polling time be extended to compensate for the lost time.
According to latest reports, at least 250 EVMs and several more VVPATs have been replaced so far. Polling remained halted at several booths for hours, owing to these technical glitches.
Patidar voters and farmers have openly expressed their displeasure with the ruling government. Farmers have also not forgotten the Mandsaur protests where two farmers were killed allegedly in police firing. "Bhav lenge, Bhavantar nahi (we want right price for our produce and not the difference in market price from the government)," is the dominant sentiment amid voters queuing outside polling booths.
Voting was halted at polling booths number 39 and 40 after unidentified persons broke the EVM machines. Around 10 candidates, including those of Congress and the BJP in five seats of Bhind district have been put under house arrest. Sources say this move has been put in place as a precautionary measure as Bhind remains a sensitive region prone to political violence during election season, reports said.
At least four EVMs and 14 VVPAT machines have been replaced in polling booths across Madhya Pradesh since polling began. The polling at booth number 204 Mahirishi Vidya Mandir in Mandla was halted after the polling machine stopped working. ANI reported that another voting machine at polling booth number 178 at Dabra seat in,Gwalior district was also not working.
The only issue that consume young voters in Madhya Pradesh is lack of employment opportunities in mind. More than 19 per cent of Madhya Pradesh’s 70 million population is in the job-seeking age group of 15-24 years, according to the 2011 census. As we spoke to some of the first time voters who had queued up to exercise their franchise, job security was the predominant theme, with little to no exception.
Congress leader Kamal Nath cast his vote from Madhya Pradesh's Chhindwara. He had earlier offered prayers at a Hanuman temple in the city. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan offered prayers at the banks of Saryu river with his family, and later conducted an aarti before proceeding to cast his vote.
Voters queue up at a polling booth in Neemuch. Team 101 Reporters
Large number of women voters have turned up to vote at the Awan Palsoda polling booth in Neemuch district. These women are farmers and will return to their fields after voting.
As polling kick started in Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was seen praying at the banks of Saryu river with his wife Sadhna Singh. Meanwhile,
On the other hand, Rahul Gandhi had penned an open letter to voters.
The voting has begun for Madhya Pradesh Assembly Elections in three Assembly segments in Naxal-affected Balaghat district — Lanji, Paraswada and Baihar. The voting time will be from 7 am to 3 pm.
Madhya Pradesh is all set to vote on Wednesday to elect a 230-member assembly, with 1.80 lakh security personnel deployed on duty to ensure peaceful polling in the state, where the ruling BJP and opposition Congress will vie for supremacy. The BJP is eyeing a fourth straight term in office, while the Congress is hoping for a comeback in the state which was once its stronghold.
The battle of ballots in Madhya Pradesh is just months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls slated in the first half of 2019. As many as 2,899 candidates, including 1,094 independents, are in the fray for the 230 seats, but the main contest is between the Congress and BJP - the big two of Madhya Pradesh politics.
The state has 5.04 crore, eligible voters. Addressing a press conference Tuesday, State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) VL Kantha Rao said, "All preparations for the Wednesday polling have been completed. All polling parties have left for their respective booths and most of them have reached their destination". He said polling will be held from 8 am to 5 pm in 227 seats, while in three assembly segments in Naxal-affected Balaghat district - Lanji, Paraswada and Baihar - voting time will be from 7 am to 3 pm.
Rao said 3,00,782 government employees, including 45,904 women, have been deployed on poll duty across the state, where 65,341 polling stations have been set up. The CEO said 17,000 of these polling booths have been declared 'sensitive' and additional vigil will be maintained there. As many as 1.80 lakh security personnel, including those drawn from central paramilitary forces, have been deployed to ensure free and fair poll, Rao said. "Special measures have been taken for sensitive booths. Webcasting will be held from 6,500 polling stations, while videography will be carried out at 4,600 booths," he said.
Rao said 78,870 EVMs will be used during the poll. He said physically challenged employees will manage 160 booths, while 3,046 polling centres will have all-women staff. "As many as 40,487 vehicles, including 9,600 buses and 8,500 minibuses are being used in the polling process," Rao said.
Among the 2,899 candidates, 250 are women and five are from the third gender, the CEO said. "The candidates include 1,794 from general category, 591 from Scheduled Castes and 514 from Scheduled Tribes. The highest number of seven female candidates are contesting from Chhatarpur, where 16 candidates are in the fray," Rao said. The highest number of candidates - 34 - are in the fray in the Mehgaon constituency in Bhind district, while the lowest - 4 - is at Gunnor in Panna district," he said.
According to the final electoral roll, the state has 5,04,95,251 voters - 2,63,01,300 males, 2,41,30,390 females, 1,389 third gender and 62,172 postal electors. The BJP is contesting all the 230 seats, while the Congress has fielded 229 candidates, leaving one seat, Jatara in Tikamgarh district, for its ally - Sharad Yadav's Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD).
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in office since 2005, is seeking re-election from Budhni in Sehore district. The BSP has fielded 227 candidates, while the SP is contesting on 52 seats. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), contesting the Madhya Pradesh elections for the first time, has fielded 208 candidates.
In reply to a question, Rao said so far Rs 100 crore, out of the Rs 411 crore budget, has been spent on the polling process. In the last assembly polls, the BJP had won 165 seats, the Congress 58, the BSP four and the independents three seats.