Moderate to High Voting in Bypolls of 54 Assembly Seats Across 10 States Despite Covid Fears

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Moderate to high polling was recorded on Tuesday in by-elections to 54 assembly constituencies in 10 states despite the shadow of COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 68 percent turnout in 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh where the results will decide the fate of the seven-month-old BJP government.

Stray incidents of clashes between Congress and BJP workers were reported in MP and one person was injured in firing in Morena district, according to officials in the state.

Elsewhere, polling was by and large peaceful as voters, wearing masks and gloves, queued up at polling booths where election staff in personal protective equipment (PPE) suits assisted them during the first pan-India electoral exercise in the pandemic. "The electoral exercise going on in the country is by far the largest exercise in the world amid the pandemic …the voter turnout in the first phase has been exceptionally good.

"The voter turnout has further continued and the confidence level has been much more in this phase," EC Secretary General Umesh Sinha said. The bypolls coincided with the second phase of assembly elections in Bihar. Counting of votes will be held on November 10.

While Pungro-Kiphire seat in Nagaland saw the highest voting of 89.8 per cent, the turnout was the poorest in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in Karnataka at 39.15 per cent, according to figures from officials of respective states. In most of the other seats the polling figure was above 50 per cent.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders had urged the people to vote in large numbers Uttar Pradesh An average of over 53 per cent voters exercised their franchise in seven seats in Uttar Pradesh, where 88 candidates were in the fray, according to state election officials. A total of 50.59 per cent votes were cast in Bangarmau, 52.10 per cent in Bulandshahr, 51.05 per cent in Deoria, 49.42 per cent in Ghatampur, 56.65 per cent in Malhani, 61.50 per cent in Naugaon Sadat and 54 per cent in Tundla, joint chief electoral officer, Ramesh Chand Rai said.

Six of these seven seats were held by the Bharatiya Janata Party, while the Malhani seat in Jaunpur district was with the Samajwadi Party. "Everyone should exercise caution and discharge the duty of casting vote. Democracy will win, coronavirus will lose," Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath tweeted earlier in the day.

BJP candidate Sangeeta Chauhan for Naugaon Sadat seat in Amroha district alleged "fake" voting in her constituency and demanded that those wearing the burqa should remove the face cover to enable poll officials ascertain their identities.