Assembly Elections: 76% vote in Madhya Pradesh , 71.8% in Chhattisgarh

Stones were pelted outside a polling station in Manhad of Mehgaon constituency of Bhind in MP

New Delhi: Clashes between BJP and Congress workers marked the voting for 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh Assembly and 70 seats in Chhattisgarh on Friday. MP, voting in a single phase, recorded 74.98 per cent turnout while it was 70.59 per cent in the second phase in Chhattisgarh.

Stones were pelted outside a polling station in Manhad of Mehgaon constituency of Bhind in MP.

A BJP candidate and an AAP supporter were injured after unidentified men opened fire in the same constituency.

In Chhattisgarh, one Indo Tibetan Border Police personnel died when Maoists triggered a blast at Bade Gobra near Manpur police station in Bindranavagarh (ST) constituency. The incident took place when a polling party, guarded by the ITBP, was returning from the booth with EVMs.

Before polling, Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the first-time voters and urged people of MP and Chhattisgarh to use their franchise, saying every vote is valuable for democracy. He expressed confidence that voters across MP would cast their ballots and add to the “brightness of this festival of democracy.”

Congress also appealed to voters to come out in large numbers and elect a Congress government that “has the trust of the poor, farmers, women and youth”. The party is seeking to retain power in the state. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said in an appeal to voters of Chhattisgarh that they have to help maintain just governance, which is capable of providing development, progress and social security to the state.

“Our special welcome and congratulations to our young voters who are voting for the first time. Strengthen democracy, keep the faith. Because it’s a matter of pride, Chhattisgarhiya self-respect!” Kharge said.

In a separate appeal to voters in MP, Kharge said people of the state would win because they are united for change. “We urge the youth who are voting for the first time to participate enthusiastically in this movement for change and vote. New venues of employment are waiting for you and you will be free from the recruitment scams of the state,” Kharge said.

He added that the valuable vote of mothers and sisters would create a cycle of economic security for women, which would lead them on the path of self-reliance. “Our farmers, farm labourer brothers and sisters, will get better prices for their crops and their loans will be waived off with their one vote. Our Dalits, tribals and people of backward communities will get rid of the daily atrocities and will become strong partners of development in the justice system,” the Congress president added.

“The power of your one vote can provide important social security to students like financial assistance, right to health and drinking water and free insurance for treatment. So raise your hand on the voting button, and exercise your democratic rights vigorously. Madhya Pradesh will be victorious, our country will become better," Kharge said.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi said, “Congress storm is coming in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh - with a huge majority!..Come out of your homes, vote in large numbers today — and elect a Congress government that has the trust of the poor, farmers, women and youth,” Gandhi said in his appeal to voters on X.

However, Madhya Pradesh minister and BJP leader Narottam Mishra in Datia stoked controversy when he said, "When you press the button (on EVM) with the ‘Lotus’ symbol on it, then celebrations are held in India. If any other political party wins, celebrations will be held in Pakistan. Keeping national interest in mind, the button with the ‘Lotus’ symbol on it should be pressed.”

His words triggered a sharp reaction from the Congress, which demanded “strict action” against Mishra for his comments.

Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh claimed the BJP was indulging in violence and said a Congress worker was run over by a BJP leader in Chhatarpur, but the police are yet to take any action into the matter.

"An incident has taken place in Rajnagar, Chhatarpur where one of our workers was mowed down by the BJP candidate with his vehicle. The police have neither confiscated the vehicle so far nor has the candidate been arrested. Open hooliganism is taking place. The BJP president’s disciple is contesting the election from there. He has done illegal sand mining there. I have spoken with the Collector-SP. Our party is also giving a report to the Election Commission about the same. No action has been taken yet,” Singh said.

He further alleged that the police administration was working under pressure. "I condemn the police administration and I allege that they (police administration) are working under pressure," Singh added.

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