Bhopal, An average 10 per cent turnout was recorded in the first couple of hours on Monday and queues observed as exercise of franchise continued amid tight security in Madhya Pradesh’s Tikamgarh, Damoh, Khajuraho, Satna, Rewa, Hoshangabad and Betul parliamentary constituencies that comprise the state’s second phase.
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. The fate of 110 candidates – including nine ladies – is being sealed in electronic voting machines. The area-wise 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 (Bharatiya Janata Party) trying his fortune in Tikamgarh (Scheduled Castes) against Ms Kiran Ahirwar (Congress); parliamentarian and erstwhile 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 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 former 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.