Bhopal, Nov 17: Voting for the single phase election in the 230- member Madhya Pradesh Assembly was underway since 7 a.m. on Friday. People were coming out in good numbers to cast their votes in large numbers, said the Election Commission.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is contesting from his home town Budhni in Sehore district, cast his vote along with his wife Sadhna Singh and son Kartikey Chouhan.
BJP’s national General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya cast his vote along with his wife Asha Vijayvargiya in Indore-1. Vijayvargiya is contesting from Indore-3 seat against Congress MLA Sanjay Shukla. He is contesting the election after 10 years.
State Home Minister Narottam Mishra and Union Minister Prahlad Patel, who are contesting from Datia and Narsinghpur Assembly constituencies respectively, voted with family members. Former Chief Minister and Madhya Pradesh Congress President Kamal Nath, who is contesting the election from his bastion Chhindwara, cast his vote with his son and Chhindwara indwara MP Nakul Nath.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Madhya Pradesh, Anupam Rajan while talking to the media on Friday said, “Voting is going on peacefully in all 64,626 polling stations of Madhya Pradesh. Better arrangements have been made at polling stations for the convenience of voters.”
Voting started at 7 a.m. sharp at polling booths. There are a total 64,626 polling booths in 230 Assembly seats, out of which, 17,032 have been categorised as sensitive polling booths. There are a total 5.59 crore registered voters in Madhya Pradesh, of them 2.87 male voters and 2. 71 crore female, while 1,292 are third gender voters.
According to EC, there are a total 2,533 candidates in the fray, including Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and several high profile ministers of his cabinet. Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Prahlad Patel.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh's son and ex-state minister Jaivardhan Singh and former chief minister Arjun Singh's son Ajay Singh are contesting from their traditional Raghogarh and Churhat seats, respectively. Besides the main contenders for power, Congress and the BJP, the Aam Aadmi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party, among others, have also fielded their candidates.
Importantly, in the last Assembly elections held in 2018, the Congress had bagged 114 against the BJP’s 109 seats. The Congress had then formed the government with the help of Independent MLAs along with SP and BSP, however, Kamal Nath’s government collapsed within the next 15 months.