MP bypolls: Voting on Tuesday, 33,000 cops on security duty

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Bhopal, Nov 2 (PTI) Voting for by-elections to 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh will be held from 7 am to 6 pm on Tuesday while adhering to the COVID-19 restrictions, an official said on Monday.

The last hour of voting will be for COVID-19 patients and people suspected to be suffering from the disease, state additional chief electoral officer Arun Tomar told PTI.

A total of 355 candidates, including 12 ministers, are in the fray for bypolls to 28 seats in the state.

Around 33,000 security personnel have been deployed in 19 districts where these constituencies fall and all preparations have been made to hold free and fair polls, the official said.

He said 250 flying squads, 173 static surveillance teams and 293 police check-posts have been pressed into service.

There are total 63.67 lakh voters in the 28 Assembly constituencies, he said.

As many as 9,361 booths have been set up for people to exercise their franchise and out of these, 3,038 are placed under the 'critical' category, he added.

Campaigning for the bypolls was marked by acrimonious exchanges between the main rivals BJP and Congress.

In most of the seats, there is a direct fight between the BJP and Congress, while in two or three seats of Gwalior Chambal region, a triangular contest is on the cards in the wake of the BSP's presence there, political observers said.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, BJP Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia, state BJP chief V D Sharma, former state CM Uma Bharti, among others, campaigned to drum up support for their party nominees.

MP Congress president and former CM Kamal Nath, Chattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh and senior party leader from Rajasthan Sachin Pilot also toured the state to woo the voters for their party candidates.

For the first time in the history of Madhya Pradesh, 28 Assembly seats in the 230-member House are going to bypollsin one go.

By-elections are being held in 25 seats as sitting Congress MLAs resigned and joined the BJP. They are now in the fray as BJP candidates.

In the three other seats, the by-election was necessitated due to the demise of the sitting legislators.

A few days back, one more Congress MLA resigned.

The BJP currently has 107 MLAs, while the Congress has 87 legislators in the House.

The counting of votes will take place on November 10.

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