Polling concluded in the high-stakes electoral battle in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh on November 17, with both the Congress and the BJP hoping for victory in the two Hindi heartland States.
In Madhya Pradesh, all 230 seats went to the polls, and the State saw a polling percentage of 74.31 per cent, according to the latest data from the Election Commission.
Chhattisgarh, which saw polling on 70 seats in the second phase, saw 70.60 per cent voter turnout. The first phase of polling was held in the State for 20 seats on November 7.
In Madhya Pradesh, the voting percentage till 5 pm was 71.16 per cent, Chief Electoral Officer Anupam Rajan told the media in the State capital, Bhopal.
“Constituency-wise, the highest voting percentage is in Ratlam’s Sailana constituency, 85.49 per cent. In Khilchipur Rajgarh, the voting percentage is 84.17 per cent. In Seoni’s Barghat constituency, the voting percentage is 84.16 per cent; in Bhind, 50.41 per cent; in Gwalior South, 51.05 per cent; and in Jalabpur Cantt, 52.2 per cent voting has taken place,” he said.
“In Neemuch, it is 81.19 per cent, and in Shajapur, the voting percentage is 80.95 per cent, Alirajpur had 56.24 per cent, Bhind 58.41 per cent, and in Bhopal 59.19 per cent voting took place,” he said.
Voting for assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh began at 7 am on November 17. The election will decide the electoral fates of over 2,500 candidates.
Nearly, 5.59 crore voters were eligible to exercise their franchise. It included 2.87 crore male and 2.71 crore female voters. There were over 5,000 booths run by women and 183 polling stations run by the disabled, officials said.
The polling will decide the electoral fate of candidates, including Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Prahlad Patel, Faggan Singh Kulaste and former Congress Chief Minister Kamal Nath.
Similarly, in Chhattisgarh, 55.31 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 3 pm in the second phase of assembly polls. The turnout was 38.22 per cent till 1 pm.
The timing for polling was from 8 am to 5 pm, except nine polling booths in the Naxal-affected Bindranawagarh seat in Rajim district, where voting was held from 7 am to 3 pm.
Over 18,800 polling stations were set up for the second phase of polling in Chhattisgarh.
An Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) jawan was killed in an IED blast carried out by Naxalites in Chhattisgarh’s Gariaband on November 17, said police.
The IED blast was carried out by the Naxals, targeting the polling party, when they were returning from Bade Gobra polling station. The incident happened around 3 km from the polling station.
In another incident, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel rescued a villager injured in an IED blast by the Maoists in the Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh on November 17.
The elections will decide the electoral fate of contestants, including Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Assembly Speaker Charandas Mahant, Deputy Chief Minister TS Singh Deo, Home Minister Tamradhwaj Sahu, BJP State President Arun Sao, and Leader of Opposition Narayan Chandel.
The assembly polls, coming nearly six months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, are crucial for both the BJP and Congress for various reasons.
The counting of votes in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, along with that in Rajasthan, Telangana, and Mizoram, will be done on December 3.
(with inputs from ANI)