As voters queued up outside booths for the single-phased polling for the 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly began on Friday, 95-year-old Ram Murthi, who also showed up to get his finger inked, exhorted fellow natives to “do their duty and cast their votes”.
Polling for all 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh commenced at 7 am on Friday. A large number of voters turned out to keep their date with democracy.
The voters can cast their ballots until 6 pm, with the exception of Baihar, Lanji, and Parswara assembly seats of Balaghat district and some booths in Mandla and Dindori districts, where voting will be held until 3 pm.
People queued up outside polling stations to exercise their franchise and decide the fates of 2,533 candidates.
“The Election Commission has made good arrangements for senior citizens as well. I came here to cast my vote as I felt I was in good shape and wanted to vote my choice,” he said.
Chahat Singhal, a first-time voter who came to exercise her franchise, also lauded the arrangements at her designated polling booth.
“This is my first vote. Though the polling began at 7 am, I got here at 6 am,” she said.
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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday extended his greetings to first-time voters in Madhya Pradesh where polling is underway for the 230-member Assembly.
Taking to his official handle on social media platform X, PM Modi posted, “I am confident that voters from every region of the state (Madhya Pradesh) will vote enthusiastically to mark this great festival of democracy. My special greetings to all the youth of the state who are voting for the first time in this election.”
The Election Commission also also came up with a vote-from-home facility for the disabled and elderly persons above 80 years of age.
“A total of 2,510 eligible voters of above 80 years and with disability opted the option to exercise their franchise from home,” district election officer and Bhopal collector Ashish Singh said.
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.
BJP has been in power in the state since 2003, except for a nearly 15-month period in between. Madhya Pradesh will vote for all its 230 seats in a single phase and the counting of votes, with four other states, will be taken up on December 3.