Lok Sabha elections 2019: Poll boycott calls have no major impact, some glitches reported in Madhya Pradesh
The state, which has 29 seats, began polling in the fourth phase of the seven phase general elections, which ended Sunday.
Eight seats in Madhya Pradesh polled on Sunday, registering a turnout of 75.51%, according to the Voter Turnout App of the Election Commission.
The state, which has 29 seats, began polling in the fourth phase of the seven phase general elections, which ended Sunday. The penultimate phase, which saw polling in eight seats as well, recorded a jump of over 8% on average in voter turnout across all constituencies.
There were reports of poll boycott in half a dozen places, while two polling officials, a polling agent and a voter died.
Of the eight constituencies, three are reserved for candidates from the Scheduled Tribes category — Ratlam, Dhar and Khargone — while two are reserved for candidates from Scheduled Castes category — Ujjain and Dewas. The remaining three that went to polls were Indore, a stronghold of speaker Sumitra Mahajan (who did not contest this time around), Mandsaur, the nerve centre of a farmers’ agitation in 2017, and Khandwa.
Chief Electoral Officer VL Kantha Rao said a poll boycott was announced in villages in Khandwa, Dewas and Mandsaur. “Save Khadki village in Khandwa and Pichala village in Mandsaur, the officials managed to convince the voters to lift the boycott.”
The CEO added that two poll officials, in Dhar and Dewas, died while on duty. A woman suffered a heart attack while waiting to cast her vote in Ratlam.
During mock polls, 94 ballot units, 91 control units and 260 Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines were replaced. While polling, 22 ballot units, 18 control units and 70 VVPATs were replaced.
The Malwa-Nimar region, where the eight seats fall, is considered a BJP stronghold, having produced leaders like BJP national president Kushabhau Thakre and former chief minister Sunderlal Patwa, BJP general secretary and incharge of West Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya, and Mahajan.
In 2014, BJP had won all the eight seats, though it lost Ratlam in a 2015 by-election following the death of BJP’s Dileep Singh Bhuria. However, in 2018, the Congress wrested the state after a 15-year BJP rule.
Among the major candidates in the fray were Union minister Kantilal Bhuria of the Congress, who fought against Guman Singh Damore of the BJP, the sitting Jhabua legislator. In the assembly polls, Damore had defeated Bhuria’s son Dr Vikrant Bhuria.
Khandwa witnessed a contest between Arun Yadav of Congress and Nand Kumar Singh Chouhan of BJP. Both are former state presidents of their respective parties. Yadav was pitted against former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Budhni during the Assembly polls, which he lost. However, he had won the seat in 2009.
Indore, the commercial capital of the state, has been Mahajan’s traditional seat. Former Indore BJP district chief Shankar Lalwani contested against Congress’s Pankaj Sanghvi. In Dewas, folk singer and Padmashri recipient Prahlad Singh Tipaniya was up against former judge Mahendra Singh Solanki of BJP. Both were first timers.
In Mandsaur, where a farmers’ agitation broke out over the effects of demonetization, in June 2017, Meenakshi Natrajan of Congress contested against Sudhir Gupta of BJP. In 2014, the latter had won.