Madhya Pradesh records nearly 40 percent voting (Third Lead)April 23rd, 2009 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS
Bhopal, April 23 (IANS) Nearly 40 percent voting was recorded for 13 of Madhya Pradesh’s 29 parliamentary seats where polling was held Thursday amid tight security in the first of the state’s two-phase Lok Sabha elections. Four polling staff have died apparently of heat stroke, officials said.
According to officials, approximately 39.84 percent of the votes had been cast in the first eight hours and no untoward incident was reported from any constituency.
“Polling was peaceful,” state chief electoral officer (CEO) J.S. Mathur said.
Four employees on poll duty died in Madhya Pradesh since Wednesday. “While two employees died in Bhopal Wednesday one each have died in Shahdol and Hoshangabad today (Thursday),” Additional Electoral Officer Madhya Pradesh, Sanjay Pandey said.
“Though the exact reason behind their death was not known, heat stroke appears to be the cause of death,” he said.
There were complaints of malfunctioning electronic voting machines (EVMs) from three places which were rectified immediately, he added.
The official informed that no voters turned up in 11 polling centres till 1 p.m.
Chhindwara recorded the maximum polling percentage of 50.59 percent, while Katni constituency registered a low of 18 percent.
In Balaghat, despite a poll boycott threat by Maoists, over 35 percent polling was recorded, he said.
Polling began at 7 a.m. across the state where 17,178,000 people, including over 8 million women, are eligible to exercise their franchise.
The fate of 198 candidates, including nine women, was being decided in Khajuraho, Satna, Rewa, Sidhi, Jabalpur, Balaghat, Chhindwara, Hoshangabad, Vidisha, Bhopal, Betul, Shahdol and Mandla constituencies. The last three seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST).
Over 97,000 election officials have been positioned at 21,834 voting stations going to the polls in the first phase.
The tribal-dominated Mandla constituency has the highest number of polling stations at 2,255 while Satna has 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.
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