Assembly Polls: MP Records 76.22% Voter Turnout; Experts Say ‘High Turnout’ May Indicate Change
Bhopal: Amid sporadic clashes across the state and the murder of a Congress leader in Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh polled 76.22% votes for the 230-seat Assembly on Friday. The state saw a slight increase of 0.59% votes compared to 2018 when the state cast 75.63% votes, leading to a change in government.
According to the State Election Commission, Ratlam's tribal reserved Sailana seat recorded the highest turnout at 90%, followed by 88.2% polling in the Barghat seat of Seoni district. While the lowest turnout was recorded at 54.04% for the tribal reserved Jobat Assembly seat in Alirajpur district, Gwalior East followed with 57.33%.
A total of 71.19% of men and 71.14% of women cast their votes by 6 pm, according to the commission. The percentage of voters under the age of 30 was 29.3% and the percentage of voters above the age of 60 years was 12.4%.
The analysis of polling percentages with the last election data shows a surge in rural voting compared to urban areas. Close to 70 seats recorded a jump of 2% to 6% in voting. Chhatarpur's Rajnagar seat, where Congress leader Salam Khan , a close aide of Congress candidate Vikram Singh, was murdered in reportedly a face-off between the Congress candidate and men of BJP's candidate, saw a jump of 5.94% polling, the highest in the state. Over two dozen seats, the majority of them reserved ones, saw a drop of 2% to 7% in polling as well.
Regarding the murder in Chhatarpur's Rajnagar, Khajuraho police lodged an FIR under Sections 302, 307, 147, 149, 294, and 506 of the IPC against BJP candidate Arvind Pateriya and others for allegedly attacking Congress candidate Vikram Singh Natiraja and killing his close aide Salman. SP Amit Sanghi said, “In the Rajnagar Assembly constituency region under Khajuraho Police Station, a scuffle broke out between two political parties’ candidates and their supporters at around 3.15 am. In the brawl, a man named Salman died. The other political party said Salman was killed, and vehicles were run over him. An FIR was lodged on a complaint of a Congress candidate.”
The election commission said five persons were injured in a skirmish between two groups in the Mhow locality of Indore district. Two men were wounded in a clash in Morena district’s Dimani constituency from where Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar has contested. Police sources said that over 30 FIRs have been registered across the state related to poll violations and clashes that occurred on polling day.
"Sporadic cases of violence were reported in some pockets of Gwalior, Chambal, Chhatarpur, Indore, and Rajgarh districts, and over 30 FIRs were registered in connection with this violence," said a senior police officer.
Dimani Assembly seat of Morena, where dalit and upper caste men were attacked on the polling day, saw a drop of 4.16% in voter turnout compared to the previous election. In the seat where the Union agriculture minister is in the poll fray, videos showed some women voters complaining that they were prevented from voting or being watched while casting votes.
In Jabalpur West, where MP Rakesh Singh is in a poll fray against Congress former Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot, saw a jump of 5.04% in the polling. Other high-profile seats where Union ministers, four MPs and a general secretary have contested saw an increase in voter turnout ranging between 3.1% to 0.18%.
Old-timers and political experts suggest that high turnout "always indicates change".
In the last Assembly election, Madhya Pradesh cast 2.96% more votes than in 2013, and this time, there was a slight increase of 0.59%, bringing the voting percentage to 76.22%.
The results will be declared on December 3 along with the results of Assembly elections in four other states.
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