73.7% turnout for Madhya Pradesh assembly polls

Polling officials with EVMs and other election material leave for poll duty ahead of Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, in Bhopal, on Thursday. Photo: PTI

Bhopal: A voter turnout of 73.72 per cent was recorded in assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh on Friday, officials said. It was a provisional figure and the final voting percentage was likely to be higher, the election officials said.
Polling was held for all 230 constituencies in a single phase on Friday.

It was marred by violence in a few places as an aide of a Congress candidate was killed after two groups fought in Rajnagar and clashes were reported elsewhere too.

Voting in naxalite-affected Balaghat, Mandla and Dindori districts ended at 3 PM while it continued till 6 PM in other parts of the state. Polling had begun at 7 AM across all 230 constituencies.

In Balaghat district, Baihar assembly constituency recorded a turnout of 80.38 per cent, Lanjhi 75.07 per cent and Paraswada 81.56 per cent.

There are 2,533 candidates in the fray, including chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of the BJP and his predecessor and state Congress chief Kamal Nath.

Prominent among those who voted early in the day included Chouhan and his family, Nath along with his family, Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Prahlad Patel, state BJP president V D Sharma and BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.

State Home Minister Narottam Mishra, Sports and Youth Welfare Minister Yashodhara Raje Scindia, Industries Minister Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon and state CEO Anupam Rajan were also among those who cast their votes in the morning.

Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and his son and former minister Jaivardhan Singh, who is contesting from Raghogarh, also cast their ballots along with family members. Former minister Ajay Singh exercised his franchise in Churhat constituency.

Women were seen standing in queues in large numbers for voting at various polling booths in the state including Hoshangabad.
A total of 64,626 polling stations were set up in the state.

Five persons were injured in a skirmish between two groups in the Mhow area of Indore district, while two men were wounded in a clash in Morena district's Dimani constituency, where Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar is contesting, police said.

According to Chhatarpur Superintendent of Police Amit Sanghi, supporters of two political leaders faced off in the Rajnagar constituency in the early hours of Friday which resulted in the death of one Salman.

The Congress candidate for the seat, Vikram Singh alias Nati Raja, said Salman used to drive him around.

State Congress chief Nath accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of distributing money and liquor to voters on the eve of the elections. "I have received several videos," the former chief minister claimed.

He also alleged that BJP workers created a ruckus in a police station located in Indore-1 assembly constituency.

Earlier in the morning, state Home Minister Mishra said if any party other than the BJP won the election, "there will be celebrations in Pakistan."

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