77% voter turnout in bypoll to Marwahi Assembly seat in C'garh

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(Eds: Updates voting figure, adds details) Raipur, Nov 3 (PTI) A high voter turnout of 77 per cent was recorded on Tuesday in the bypoll to Marwahi Assembly constituency in Chhattisgarh which passed off peacefully, a poll official here said.

The voting percentage was of till 6 pm, the official deadline for polling, he said.

However, the final turnout might go up as many voters, mostly those infected with COVID-19, were still in the premises of some polling stations to cast ballots even after the end of official voting time, he said.

The bypoll for the seat reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates, which falls in the newly-formed Gaurela- Pendra Marwahi district, became necessary following the death of sitting Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J) MLA and former chief minister Ajit Jogi on May 29.

Eight candidates are in the fray.

'The voting began at 8 am amid tight security and with COVID-19 protocols in place. After the deadline for voting ended at 6 pm, around 77 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the Marwahi seat,' the official said.

No untoward incident was reported in the constituency during the polling, the official said.

In the 2018 assembly election, the constituency had recorded a voter turnout of 81.15 per cent.

A total of 1,91,004 voters were eligible to cast ballots of which 93,735 were men, 97,265 females and four from the third gender.

As many as 286 polling stations were set up, of which 126 were categorised as sensitive, the official said.

The results of the bypoll will be announced on November 10.

The seat, a bastion of the Jogi family for several years now, is witnessing a straight fight between the Congress and the BJP after the nomination papers of Amit Jogi, the son of Ajit Jogi, and his wife Richa were rejected by the returning officer, who said their caste certificates were invalid.

The Congress has fielded Dr K K Dhruw, a former medical officer from the area, while Dr Gambheer Singh, an ex- professor of the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Medical College, Raipur, is the BJP nominee.

The strength of the Chhattisgarh Assembly is 90.

The other candidates in the fray are Ritu Pandram of the Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP), Dr Urmila Singh Marko of the Rashtriya Gondwana Party, Pushpa Khelan Korche of the Ambedkarite Party of India, Beersingh Nagesh of the Bharatiya Tribal Party, Lakshman Porte of the Bharatiya Sarvajan Hitay Samaj Party and independent Sonmati Salam.

In the 2018 Assembly polls, Ajit Jogi had bagged 74,041 votes in Marwahi, beating the BJP's Archana Porte by a margin of 46,462 votes, with the Congress coming third. PTI TKP GK RSY RSY