A voter turnout of nearly 76 percent was recorded in assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh on Friday, a senior official said.
The voting figure surpassed the 75 percent recorded in 2018 and could increase further. Polling was held for all 230 constituencies in a single phase on Friday.
” Voting was approximately 76 percent. We are waiting for some details before coming out with the final figure which will take some time,” the state’s Chief Electoral Officer Anupam Rajan told news agency PTI late at night.
The incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition Congress are locked in a direct fight in the state.
The polling was marred by violence in a few places. An aide of a Congress candidate was killed after two groups clashed in Rajnagar, police said.
Voting in Maoist-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, the Baihar assembly constituency recorded a turnout of 80.38 percent, Lanjhi 75.07 percent, and Paraswada 81.56 percent.
The fates of 2,533 candidates, including Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of the BJP and his predecessor and state Congress chief Kamal Nath, were sealed in Electronic Voting Machines.
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 the Churhat constituency.
Women were seen standing in queues in large numbers 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.
In Jabalpur, city BJP unit president Prabhat Sahu alleged that Congress supporters attacked his party’s Jabalpur (East) candidate Anchal Sonkar, his son Ram Sonkar and two workers near Ramlila Maidan school. But police said they had not received any complaint.
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.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)