Polling in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections began on a brisk note, with a voter turnout of 21 per cent recorded till 11 am on Wednesday.
Alirajpur constituency is in the lead with 20 per cent voter turnout, followed by Khandwa and Khargone with 17 per cent each, Dhar with 13 per cent. Barwani and Indore saw lowest voter turnout of 2 and 3 per cent, respectively.
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, who cast his vote in Gwalior, expressed concerns about the malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in some assembly constituencies and urged polling officials to extend voting timings in those areas.
"The EVMs aren't working, which is a great concern to us. In a democracy, the single right to every citizen has to be able to exercise his or her franchise. Whatever time has been delayed because of the non-working of EVMs, voting in those polling booths should be extended to compensate the delay. The machines should be repaired or replaced. We are in touch with the Election Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh. We made the formal complaints and make sure that replacements should be done soon," Scindia told reporters here.
Lashing out at the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government, Scindia asserted that an atmosphere has been formed in the state where corruption prevails, farmers are not getting paid for their crops, poor women safety, lack of health and education facilities and unemployment.
"We believe that now it is the time for the BJP to go. The people of Madhya Pradesh have made up their mind. I assure you that on December 11, Congress will form the government with the blessings of the people," he told ANI.
Meanwhile, BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya and his wife Asha travelled on a chariot to cast their votes in Indore. Their son, Akash Vijayvargiya, is contesting from the Indore-3 Assembly constituency.
Speaking to ANI, Kailash took a jibe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi that despite vowing to waive off loans for the farmers, the same has not been done in Karnataka and Punjab.
"We should not believe what Rahul Gandhi says. He had said that his party would waive off loans. But they haven't done it in Karnataka and Punjab. Nobody should believe in the Congress," the BJP leader said.
Kailash's wife, Asha, also expressed confidence that the party would win the polls and her son, Akash, would win from his Indore-3 seat with a majority margin.
As the voting kick-started in Madhya Pradesh, multiple instances of EVMs and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) malfunctioning have been reported, thus temporarily stalling the polling process.
In Mohana booth number 55, the EVM has stopped working and no voter has been able to cast vote since morning, while in Ujjain, two EVMs were replaced due to errors. In Alirajpur, a total of 11 VVPAT machines were replaced and polling was resumed. In Burhanpur, five VVPATs and two EVMs were replaced after being found defective.
In Madhya Pradesh, voting, which began at 8 am, will conclude at 5 pm. However, the timings for polling in Baihar, Lanji and Parswada assembly constituencies of Balaghat district have been set from 7 am to 3 pm.
Around five crore voters are eligible to decide the fate of 2,899 candidates contesting for 230-seat Madhya Pradesh Assembly.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made in order to ensure free, fair and peaceful polls. Around one lakh 80 thousand security personnel have been deployed to main law and order in the region.
The result of the Assembly polls will be declared on December 11.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)