Madhya Pradesh records 47 percent voting (Fourth Lead)

April 24th, 2009 - 12:08 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bhopal, April 23 (IANS) More than 47 percent voters in Madhya Pradesh cast their ballot Thursday for 13 of the 29 parliamentary seats in the first of the state’s two-phase Lok Sabha elections. Four polling staff have died in the state, apparently of heat stroke, officials said.
Repolling will be held at two polling booths in Rewa, officials said.

Approximately 47.27 percent of the votes were cast till 5 p.m. and no untoward incident was reported from any constituency. The polling percentage for men stood at 52.17 while for women it was 41.78 percent.

The exact polling percentage would be known by Friday when data is collated, officials said.

“Polling was peaceful, barring minor skirmishes at one or two places,” state chief electoral officer J.S. Mathur said.

“The electorate at 10 to 15 places boycotted polls due to various reasons like protesting against lack of development works or absence of school in their area. Repolling would be held at two polling stations in Rewa constituency,” the official said.

Four employees on poll duty died in the state since Wednesday. “While two employees died in Bhopal Wednesday, one each has died in Shahdol and Hoshangabad today (Thursday),” said Mathur adding, “Though the exact reason behind their death was not known, heat stroke appears to be the cause of death.”

There were complaints of malfunctioning electronic voting machines (EVMs) from three places which were rectified immediately, he added.

Chhindwara recorded the maximum polling percentage of 63.28 percent, while Khajuraho constituency registered a low of 34.49 percent.

In Balaghat, despite a poll boycott threat by Maoists, over 50.82 percent polling was recorded, Mathur said.

The votes polled in other constituencies were Satna - 50.72 percent, Rewa - 48.80, Sidhi - 45.64, Jabalpur - 45.24, Hoshangabad - 48.46, Vidisha - 41.86, Bhopal - 42.57, Betul - 45.98, Shahdol - 46.27 and Mandla - 48.12 percent. The last three seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST).

A total of 17,178,000 people, including over 8 million women, were eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 198 candidates, including nine women.

Over 97,000 election officials were positioned at 21,834 voting stations to ensure free and fair polls. The tribal-dominated Mandla constituency had the highest number of polling stations at 2,255 while Satna had the lowest at 1,433.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have fielded their candidates in all 13 constituencies, while the Congress and Samajwadi Party have candidates in 12 each.

The key candidates whose fate was locked in the EVMs Thursday included BJP’s Sushma Swaraj from Vidisha, Kailash Joshi from Bhopal and Phaggan Singh Kulaste from Mandla.

The main Congress candidates included Visheshwar Bhagat from Balaghat, Kamalnath from Chhindwara, Raja Pateria from Khajuraho, Pushpraj Singh of Samajwadi Party from Rewa and Veena Singh, daughter of Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh, as an Independent from Sidhi.

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