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74.61% polling in MP; 1,145 EVMs replaced

74.61% polling in MP; 1,145 EVMs replaced
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Bhopal:Altogether 74.61 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections Wednesday, a rise of around two per cent compared to the previous polls.

The figure may go up, state Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao said. In the 2013 Assembly polls, it was 72.69 per cent, he added.

Polling was marred by complaints of faulty Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVVPAT) machines. Rao said 1,145 EVMs and 1,545 VVPATs were replaced after complaints of technical snags.

Polling was held between 8 am and 5 pm in 227 seats, while in three assembly segments - Lanji, Paraswada and Baihar - in the Naxal-affected Balaghat district, the voting time was between 7 am to 3 pm,

About 2.5 per cent (polling) machines were replaced, Rao said, adding this percentage was around two per cent in other states where elections were held recently.

In Naxal-affected Baihar district, the percentage was 75.05, in Lanjhi 79.07 per cent and in Paraswada it was 80.05 per cent, he said.

Those who were in the queue at the polling booths till 5 pm were allowed to vote, he said, adding such polling was underway at 2,200 polling stations.

"There was no demand for re-polling. Poll officials received 386 complaints, and all of them were resolved," he said.

Three employees died due to "health reasons" while performing poll duty in Dhar, Indore and Guna districts, he said.

At Gadhpura village in Bhind district, a person was injured in violence, but it was not poll-related, he said. The incident happened "far from the booth" and was related to enmity between two groups, he added.

Leaders of Congress, which is in a straight fight with BJP to win the crucial election in the central Indian state, claimed that EVMs at many places malfunctioned.

Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat said in Delhi that there are provisions for the extension of time and local officers (in Madhya Pradesh) were empowered to take a call on the issue.

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