5.59 cr voters to decide the fate of MP; polling in Maoist-affected regions till 3 p.m.

Bhopal: Polling officials with EVMs and other election material leave for poll duty ahead of Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, in Bhopal, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023.(IANS/Hukum Verma)

Bhopal, Nov 16 (IANS) After over a month-long frenzy campaign for the Assembly elections that ended on Tuesday, Madhya Pradesh’s electorate are set to elect the next government as the state goes to the polls on Friday.

According to the Election Commission (EC), a total of 64,626 polling stations have been set up for the 230 Assembly constituencies in the state, including 17,032 ‘sensitive’ booths. Voting will start at 7 a.m. and conclude at 7 p.m, barring the Maoist-affected Balaghat, Mandla and Dindori regions, where polling will end at 3 p.m.

There are 5.59 crore registered voters in Madhya Pradesh, including 2.87 crore male voters, 2.71 crore female voters, and 1,292 belonging to the third gender.

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Madhya Pradesh, Anupam Rajan, said during a presser on the eve of elections that all preparations are in place and the polling staff accompanied by security forces have reached their assigned polling booths.

“We are fully prepared to conduct voting in a peaceful and safe environment. This time, we want the voting percentage to be higher than what was recorded in 2018,” Rajan said.

There are a total of 2,533 candidates in the fray, including 2,280 males, 252 females and one candidate belonging to the third gender.

In the last Assembly elections held in 2018, Congress had bagged 114 seats against BJP’s 109. The Congress went on to form the government with the help of Independent MLAs, along with the SP and BSP.

However, the Kamal Nath-led government collapsed within 15 months after 22 MLAs led by then Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia jumped ship to the BJP in March 2020.

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