Bhopal, May 6 : Approximately 50 per cent turnout was reported until 3pm on Monday as exercise of franchise continued amid tight security in summer weather within Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh, Damoh, Khajuraho, Satna, Rewa, Hoshangabad and Betul parliamentary constituencies that comprise the state’s second phase.
Area-wise percentages are Tikamgarh more than 50, Damoh 52, Khajuraho 50, Satna 46, Rewa 42, Hoshangabad 53 and Betul 52. A first information report was registered against Harsud’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator and erstwhile state minister Kunwar Vijay Shah who – after casting his vote in Khandwa District’s Ashapur – quarrelled with Congress workers and threatened to murder party leader Basant Pawar.
A video went viral of Panna District’s Pawai Janpad Panchayat Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Satish Singh Nagwanshi – who reached Atarhai village following reports of a boycott owing to a water crisis – telling residents that voting is taking place in numerous centres so if they did not desire to exercise their franchise it hardly mattered. When the locals ceaselessly vented their grievances, the CEO said, “Why are you telling me all this? I do not have to emerge victorious in this election.”
Home Guard Constable Mahesh Dubey died on duty in Betul district headquarters. He was found unconscious in the bathroom and pronounced dead at the District Hospital. Compensation of Rs 15 lakh was announced for the affected family. Residents in Newralondu Raiyat village – having 430 voters – abstained from the democratic process in order to register a protest against water scarcity.
Re-polling is progressing without incident in Sidhi District’s Demha centre. The Assembly’s Leader of the Opposition Gopal Bhargava voted in Sagar District’s Garhakota. Narsinghpur Collector Deepak Saxena, his 81-year-old mother and his spouse lined up with others at a polling centre. Film personality Ashutosh Rana exercised his franchise in Narsinghpur District’s Gadarwara and the centre happened to be the school where he had commenced his education! In one locality a bereaved household’s members did not shirk their responsibility as citizens. Chhatarpur was among the places where extremely aged persons also voted.
The official timings are 0700-1800 hrs; electors number in excess of 1.19 crore and include more than 56 lakh women. A total 15,240 polling centres have been set up and queues observed since morning. The fate of 110 candidates – including nine ladies – is being sealed in electronic voting machines. The break-up is Tikamgarh 14, Damoh 15, Khajuraho 17, Satna 21, Rewa 23, Hoshangabad 11 and Betul nine. This stage is witnessing Minister of State for Minority Affairs Virendra Kumar (BJP) trying his fortune in Tikamgarh (Scheduled Castes) against Ms Kiran Ahirwar (Cong); parliamentarian and former central minister Prahlad Singh Patel (BJP) is in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in Damoh with Mr Pratap Singh Lodhi (Cong); in Hoshangabad, BJP MP Uday Pratap Singh is up against Mr Shailendra Diwan (Cong); MP Ganesh Singh (BJP) and Mr Rajaram Tripathi (Cong) are among those fighting in Satna; the saffron camp’s state General Secretary VD Sharma is battling Ms Kavita Singh (Cong) in Khajuraho while in Betul Mr Durgadas Uikey (BJP) is combatting youthful Ramu Tekam (Cong). Rewa’s ‘defending’ MP Janardan Mishra (BJP) is on collision course with the Congress’ Mr Siddharth Tiwari who is the paternal grandson of ex-Assembly speaker Sriniwas Tiwari and the son of senior leader Sunder Lal Tiwari (both deceased).
Official sources said that 25,821 ballot units; 18,288 control units and 19,050 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail units were supplied. The number of critical centres is 3,208 and in excess of 3,000 polling stations are being monitored through webcasting / closed-circuit television cameras. A total 414 vulnerable areas and 737 suspicious persons were identified.
As many as 50,400 personnel including 85 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force and 45 of the State Armed Force are deployed; 268 Quick Response teams were formed; 65 inter-state and 153 inter-district check posts sealed; more than 8,700 vehicles are being utilised for transportation of polling teams, sector officers and police. Prohibitory action was taken against 31,847 persons; 62,528 licensed arms deposited and 1,267 illegal weapons appropriated. (UNI)