MP bypolls: Over 64% turnout in bypolls to three Assembly segments, 63.88% in Khandwa LS seat

The seats going to polls are Khandwa (Lok Sabha) and Raigaon, Prithvipur and Jobat Assembly constituencies

October 30, 2021 11:47 am | Updated 09:08 pm IST - Bhopal

BJP Lok Sabha candidate for Khandwa seat Gyaneshwar Patil along with his wife after casting a vote for by-polls, in Indore, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

BJP Lok Sabha candidate for Khandwa seat Gyaneshwar Patil along with his wife after casting a vote for by-polls, in Indore, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

A tentative voter turnout of 64.60% was recorded on Saturday in the bypolls to three Assembly seats and of 63.88% in the Khandwa Lok Sabha constituency in Madhya Pradesh where the ruling BJP and opposition Congress are locked in a straight contest.

Jobat, Prithvipur and Raigaon Assembly constituencies recorded voter turnouts averaging 53.30%, 78.14% and 66.66%, respectively, officials said.

The exact final voter turnout figures of the four bypolls would be released later.

The BJP, meanwhile, accused the Congress of indulging in malpractices while the opposition party hit back, saying the ruling party was levelling such "false" allegations as it is staring at defeat in the bypolls.

"Though the polling passed off peacefully barring stray incidents amid tight security, a case was filed against Tikamgarh BJP MLA Rakesh Giri and the saffron party leader Ganeshi Nayak for remaining present at the polling stations number 230 and 231 of the Prithvipur assembly constituency, Digona police station inspector Himanshu Choubey told PTI.

He said a case was registered against Giri and Nayak under section 188 (knowingly disobeying an order promulgated by a public servant and thereby causing danger of riot) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

A total of 48 candidates were in the fray in these four constituencies where polling began at 7 am and ended at 6 p.m., the officials said.

These by-elections were necessitated due to the death of sitting MLAs and an MP.

Of the four seats which went to the bypolls, two constituencies namely Khandwa (Lok Sabha) and Raigaon (SC) were held by the BJP while Jobat and Prithvipur were with the Congress.

Altogether 26,50,004 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise.

Of the 3,944 polling centres across the four constituencies, 865 were deemed as sensitive by the administration.

Webcasting was arranged at 874 polling stations while CCTV cameras were installed at 361 centres.

Sixteen candidates each were in the fray for by-polls to Khandwa Lok Sabha seat and Raigaon (SC) Assembly constituency.

In these seats, two ballot units were placed in each polling centre due to the high number of candidates.

Ten candidates were in the fray in Prithvipur and six in Jobat (ST) assembly constituencies.

The counting of votes will take place on November 2.

In Khandwa, the BJP fielded former district panchayat president Gyaneshwar Patil, denying the ticket to Harshvardhan Chauhan, the son of sitting MP Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan whose demise necessitated the bypoll. The Congress fielded former MLA Rajnarayan Singh Purni.

In Jobat, Sulochana Rawat was the BJP's nominee against Congress candidate Mahesh Patel. The seat fell vacant due to the death of sitting Congress legislator Kalawati Bhuria.

Rawat, a former MLA, joined the BJP recently after quitting Congress. She had won from Jobat on Congress's ticket in 1998 and 2008.

In Raigaon (SC) seat, the BJP has fielded Pratima Bagri, the daughter-in-law of MLA Jugal Kishore Bagri whose death necessitated the bypoll. She faced Congress' Kalpana Verma.

Verma had been defeated by Jugal Kishore Bagri in 2018.

In Prithvipur, the BJP fielded former Samajwadi Party leader Shishupal Singh against Congress's Nitendra Rathore, the son of former minister Brajendra Singh Rathore whose death caused the bypoll.

Additional chief secretary Rajesh Rajora said 58 companies of special armed forces – including 50 from other states – were deployed for ensuring fair and peaceful polls.

A total of 55 flying squads and 64 static surveillance teams were pressed into service, he added.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan alleged the Congress was indulged in malpractices, goondaism and threatened people, especially in the Prithvipur assembly seat, fearing defeat in the bypoll, a release said.

Hitting back, MP Congress president and former chief minister Kamal Nath tweeted that Chouhan was levelling false allegations because the BJP is going to bite the dust in these by-elections.

Chouhan's statement shows he had accepted defeat even before the polling ended, Nath added.

In the evening, Madhya Pradesh Urban Develop.m.ent Minister Bhupendra Singh said the BJP has lodged 21 complaints with the Election Commission against Congress for resorting to malpractices in the bypolls.

“Congress's Prithvipur Assembly seat candidate Nitendra Rathore's uncle Yashpal Singh and his (nominee's) nephew Vibhu Rathore along with others carrying a revolver went around and manhandled our workers,” Singh said in a release.

The minister alleged that an attempt was made to capture a polling booth.

However, the release did not mention the booth which was allegedly attacked.

“These are all false and baseless allegations. The BJP is making such accusations due to frustration knowing that its defeat is imminent in the bypolls,” MP Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said.

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