Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India]: Union Minister Prahlad Patel on Friday urged voters to come out in record numbers and exercise their franchise in Madhya Pradesh.
Polling for the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly got underway at 7 am on Friday.
Voting is also underway for 70 seats of the 90-member Chhattisgarh Assembly and will continue till 3 pm.
However, polling in nine stations of Bindranavagarh Assembly constituency in Chhattisgarh will be held from 7 am to 3 pm.
While the single-phased polling for Madhya Pradesh is currently underway, voting for the first phase in Chhattisgarh for 20 seats was held on November 7.
The Union Minister exuded confidence that the BJP will come to power for the consecutive fifth time in Madhya Pradesh with an absolute majority.
Speaking to media, Patel, who is contesting the Narsinghpur Assembly seat on a BJP ticket, said, ‘I urge all the people of Madhya Pradesh to record 100 per cent polling today. I urge them to take part in this democratic exercise for the sake of development. I am confident of the BJP returning in Madhya Pradesh with an absolute majority.’
The BJP has fielded its three Union Ministers and four Lok Sabha MPs in the ongoing Madhya Pradesh Polls.
The three Union ministers are Narendra Singh Tomar (agriculture), who also heads the BJP state election management committee, Prahlad Singh Patel (MoS food processing and jal shakti) and Faggan Singh Kulaste (MoS steel and rural development).
Lok Sabha MPs, Rakesh Singh, a former state BJP chief, Ganesh Singh, Riti Pathak and Uday Pratap Singh, are also in fray.
The voters in Madhya Pradesh can exercise their franchise till 6 pm, with the exception of Baihar, Lanji, and Parswara assembly seats of Balaghat district and some booths in Mandla and Dindori districts, where polling will be held till 3 pm.
BJP is seeking to retain power in the state where it has ruled for almost 18 of the past 20 years and Congress is keen to oust the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.
Webcasting has been made available at about 42,000 polling stations. Nearly 700 companies of the central forces and two lakh police personnel of the state have been deployed for security during the poll.
The election will decide the electoral fate of over 2,500 candidates. Nearly 5.59 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. It includes 2.87 crore male and 2.71 crore women voters.
There are over 5,000 booths run by women and 183 polling stations run by the disabled, officials said.
The polls, coming nearly six months ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, are crucial for both the BJP and Congress for various reasons.
The counting of votes for the five states, also including Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram, will be done on December 3.