Bhopal, May 12 : Exercise of franchise commenced early Sunday amid tight security in Bhopal, Guna, Morena, Vidisha, Sagar, Bhind, Gwalior and Rajgarh parliamentary constituencies of Madhya Pradesh under the country’s penultimate and the state’s third phase in this general election.
The voting timings are 7am- 6pm; the 1,44,41,448-strong electorate includes 67,40,371 women and the polling stations number 18,141. A total 138 candidates’ fortunes are being sealed in electronic voting machines, official sources said. The state capital is the cynosure of all eyes as it is witnessing saffron-clad first-timer Pragya Singh Thakur (Bharatiya Janata Party) on a high-profile collision course with Rajya Sabha Member and erstwhile chief minister Digvijaya Singh (Congress); Mr KP Yadav (BJP) is trying his fortune against four-time MP Jyotiraditya Scindia (Cong) in Guna; Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar (BJP) is in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with former minister Ramniwas Rawat (Cong) in Morena within Chambal Division while in Vidisha – where the outgoing four-time MP is External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj – Mr Ramakant Bhargav (BJP) is fighting Mr Shailendra Patel (Cong).
Principal contestants in Sagar are Mr Raj Bahadur Singh (BJP) and Mr Prabhu Singh Thakur (Cong), in Bhind (Scheduled Castes) Mrs Sandhya Rai (BJP) is combatting youthful Devashish Jarariya (Cong), Mayor Vivek Shejwalkar (BJP) is locked in combat with Mr Ashok Singh (Cong) in Gwalior and ‘defending’ MP Rodmal Nagar (BJP) is contesting against Mrs Mona Sustani (Cong) in Rajgarh.
More than 79,000 officials are on duty, as many as 45,053 security personnel including 85 companies of Central Armed Police Force and 30 of the State Armed Force have been deployed; 446 Quick Response teams formed; 101 inter-state and 128 inter-district check posts sealed; in excess of 11,000 vehicles are being utilised for transportation of polling teams, sector officers and police. A total 4,024 critical centres were identified and more than 3,600 being monitored by webcasting / closed-circuit television cameras; 1,720 vulnerable areas were singled out and 3,096 suspicious persons pinpointed. Prohibitory action was taken against 2,273 persons; 1,48,616 licensed weapons deposited and 9,409 illegal ones appropriated. UNI