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.
MADHAY PRADESH ELECTIONS 2019
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is seeking a fourth term, and his wife Sadhana Singh cast their votes at his native village Jait, which is part of his Budhni Assembly constituency.
Polling was held between 8 am and 5 pm in 227 seats, while in naxal affected areas of Lanji, Paraswada and Baihar the voting time was between 7 am and 3 pm.
Those who were in the queue at the polling booths till 5 pm were allowed to vote, Rao said, adding polling there was underway at 2,200 polling stations.
“There was no demand for re-polling. Poll officials received 386 complaints and all of them were resolved,” he added.
Three employees died due to “health reasons” while performing poll duty in Dhar, Indore and Guna districts, he said.
At Gadhpura village in Bhind district, a person was injured in violence but it was not poll-related, he said. The incident happened “far from the booth” and was related to enmity between two groups, he added.
On reports that some EVMs were found in a hotel, Rao said, “We got information that a sector officer in Shujalpur was staying in a hotel along with ballot machines. On getting information, a team of officers reached the hotel and seized the machine. The officer concerned was removed (from poll duty) and the polling team was sent along with a new sector officer.”
Leaders of Congress, which is in a straight fight with BJP to win the crucial election in the central Indian state, claimed that EVMs at many places malfunctioned.
“There were several complaints that EVMs at many places malfunctioned. We had requested the Election Commission that voting time in these polling booths should be extended to compensate for the delay,” Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said. The Commission should compensate for time wasted in replacing EVMs by extending polling time, the Guna MP said.
State Congress president Kamal Nath said there were reports from across the state that EVMs did not work at many places. “This affected polling. Long queues were witnessed…” he said.
Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat said in Delhi there are provisions for the extension of time and local officers (in Madhya Pradesh) were empowered to take a call on the issue.
Nath cast his vote in Chhindwara district while Scindia, the party’s state campaign committee chief, exercised his franchise in Gwalior.
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.
AsReports 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.
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.