Chhatarpur has the maximum seven lady aspirants and Mehgaon the highest number of male nominees at 33. Three areas in Naxalism-affected Balaghat district are witnessing polling between 0700-1500 hrs.
As many as 78,870 ballot units, 65,367 central units and 65,367 Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail units are being utilised. There are a total 65,341 polling centres where 3,00,782 officials are on duty. More than 10,000 reserve units are available so that replacements may be effected within 30 minutes. Mock polling was conducted in the presence of candidates prior to actual voting; webcasting and closed-circuit television have been arranged at 6,500 sensitive centres, videography is being undertaken at 4,600 centres and micro-observers number 12,363.
Central Armed Police Forces personnel are deployed at 11,900 centres besides 1.80 lakh state police personnel. A total 41,000 vehicles have been requisitioned. Special arrangements are in place for the elderly, differently-able people and pregnant women.
The prestige of numerous stalwarts of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), principal-opposition Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is at stake. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in Budhni against former Union Minister Arun Yadav of the Congress. In Hoshangabad, Vidhan Sabha Speaker Sitasaran Sharma is fighting Mr Sartaj Singh who entered Congress ranks after exiting the saffron party.
The BJP has fielded candidates in all 230 constituencies, the Congress has ceded Jatara to its alliance partner Loktantrik Janata Dal, the BSP is contesting 227, Aam Aadmi Party 208, Sapaks Party 110, Shiv Sena 81, Gondwana Gantantra Party 73 and Samajwadi Party 52. There are 94 independents. (UNI)