A voter turnout of over 65 per cent was recorded today in the bypoll held for the Chitrakoot assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh, where the ruling BJP and opposition Congress are locked in a close contest.
"Over 65 per cent voting was recorded in the Chitrakoot assembly byelection today. The final voting percentage is being assessed," Satna district Returning Officer-cum-District Collector Mukesh Shukla said.
The bypoll was necessitated following death of sitting Congress MLA, Prem Singh (65). Singh had won the seat in the 1998, 2003 and 2013 elections, barring 2008 when he lost to BJP's Surendra Singh Gaharwar. The BSP has not fielded its candidate in the bypoll.
On reports that residents of Bairhana and Bichhian villages in the constituency boycotted the bypoll, Shukla clarified that voters of Bichhian village had participated in the polling after 3 pm, but those from Bairhana did not.
Earlier in the day, Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Salina Singh told reporters in Bhopal that residents of both the villages had boycotted the bypoll to press for their demands of construction of roads, a school and other developmental works.
The polling was held between 8 am and 5 pm.
Though 12 candidates are in the fray, the main fight is between Congress's Nilanshu Chaturvedi and BJP's Shankar Dayal Tripathi.
There are 1.98 lakh voters in the constituency bordering Uttar Pradesh. A total of 257 polling booths with VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines were set up for the bypoll.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Madhya Pradesh BJP chief Nandkumar Chouhan had campaigned for the party candidate.
Congress chief whip in the Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia, former Union Minister Kamal Nath, Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Assembly Ajay Singh had canvassed for Chaturvedi.
Chitrakoot falls under the Vindya region of the state, comprising Rewa, Satna, and Sidhi districts, which is the home turf of Congress stalwart late Arjun Singh.
While the BJP went to the polls on the development plank, the Congress focussed its campaign highlighting "corruption and misrule" in the BJP-ruled state.