Bhopal, May 12 (IANS) A turnout of 60.48 per cent was recorded in eight Lok Sabha seats of Madhya Pradesh which went to polls in the penultimate phase of the seven stage general elections on Sunday, amid stray incidents of violence.
In Bhind, top candidates were placed under restraint to ensure smooth polling.
Eight constituencies went to polls in the state’s third phase, including the high-profile Bhopal constituency where former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh faced the BJP’s Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, and Guna from where Congress General Secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia is contesting.
According to the state Chief Electoral Officer, the highest turnout was recorded in Rajgarh at 68.9 per cent, followed by Vidisha with 66.35 per cent and Guna at 65.11. The lowest voting was in Bhind at 51.59 per cent.
Bhopal recorded 61.71 per cent voting.
Polling percentages in the other constituencies was Morena with 54.36 per cent, Gwalior at 56.39 and Sagar at 60.61 per cent.
Polling was brisk in all eight seats with long queues of voters forming since the morning. Some instances of EVM malfunctions were reported but soon rectified by poll officials. There were reports of booth capturing or clashes in Alampur area of Bhind and Khurai in Sagar.
Several incidents were reported from polling booths in Bhind, after which the district administration confined the candidates of the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party at a official guest house. Several other Congress and BJP leaders were also restrained.
More than 14,400,000 voters were eligible to decide the fate of 138 candidates, including 14 women. A total of 45,053 security personnel, including 85 companies of central paramilitary forces and 30 of state armed police, were deployed to ensure free and fair polling.
This phase was straight battle between the BJP and the Congress. The polls are a major challenge for the former as it had lost power in the state last year after 15 years.
Apart from the most keenly-watched Bhopal constituency, other major contests included Guna, where Scindia, who has been representing the seat since 2002, faces his former aide K.P. Yadav, who has now switched over the BJP. Yadav was Scindia’s aide till January last year.
In Morena, which is the birthplace of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and a BJP stronghold, the party has fielded Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar against the Congress’ Ram Niwas Rawat.
In Rajgarh, Congress’ Mona Sustani was pitted against BJP’s Rodmal Nagar, Vivek Sejwalkar of the BJP is taking on Ashok Singh of the Congress in Gwalior, and the contest in Vidisha, which was earlier held by Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, is between the BJP’s Ramakant Bhargava and the Congress’ Shailendra Patel.
In Bhind and Sagar, there are new faces on both sides. Sandhya Rai of the BJP is pitted against Devasish Jararia of the Congress in Bhind, while Rajbahadur Singh (BJP) faced Prabhu Singh Thakur (Congress) in Sagar.