75% votes cast in Madhya Pradesh bypolls (Fourth Lead)

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Bhopal, Feb 24 (IANS) Heavy polling was recorded in the bypolls for two assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, with 77.25 per cent voting recorded in Mungaoli constituency and 72.82 per cent in Kolaras at the end of polling, the Chief Election Officer (CEO) of Madhya Pradesh said. Average voting for the two seats stood at 75 per cent.

The by and large peaceful polls also saw some sporadic clashes — especially one in Digoda village of Kolaras in Shivpuri district — between the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers, a poll official said.

Police station in-charge of Mungaoli in Ashoknagar district, Kushal Singh Bhadoria, was removed on the instruction of Election Commission (EC), the official said.

There were also some complaints of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) developing snag at some places. Fifteen EVMs in Kolaras and 17 in Mungaoli had to be replaced.

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Chief Election Officer Saleena Singh said that there was enthusiasm among the voters, which translated into high polling percentage. The voting started at 8.00 a.m in both Kolaras and Mungaoli, which continued until 5.00 p.m.

She had appealed to voters to remain calm and exercise their right to vote without fear. Public holiday was declared at both places in view of the bypolls.

A total of 22 candidates in Mungaoli and 13 in Kolaras were in the fray.

Some 3,000 poll officials conducted the election process at 575 polling stations, the EC official said.

The assembly seats fell vacant following the death of sitting Congress MLAs Mahendra Singh Kalukheda (Mungaoli) and Ram Singh Yadav (Kolaras).

These bypolls are being seen as a prestige battle for Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is in his third term as the Chief Minister, and his arch-rival Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress.

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The two assembly segments are part of Scindia’s Guna Lok Sabha constituency.

Votes will be counted on February 28 and the results will be declared the same day, the EC said.

–IANS

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