Single-phase voting commences across Madhya Pradesh

Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2018 (15:12 IST)
Bhopal: Polling commenced this morning across 230 assembly constituencies of Madhya Pradesh amid tight security, official sources said.

The poll timings are 0800-1700 hrs and a 5,04,33,079-strong electorate – including 2,41,30,390 women and more than 1,000 of the third gender – is expected to vote through electronic voting machines and decide the fortunes of 2,899 candidates including 250 women and five of the third gender. The caste-wise break-up is 1,794 of the general category, 591 of the Scheduled Castes and 514 of the Scheduled Tribes.
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 is locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation in Budhni against former Union Minister of the Congress. In Hoshangabad, Vidhan Sabha Speaker Sitasaran Sharma is fighting Mr Sartaj Singh who entered ranks after exiting the saffron party.
The 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)