Around 42.71 percent voters turnout in bye-elecctions till 1 pm. Polling on 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh is underway. Bye-elections were necessitated following the resignation of 25 MLAs and the death of three legislators earlier.
Thousands of people on Tuesday battled corona fears and queued up outside polling booths across 10 states to vote in by-elections to 54 assembly constituencies, including 28 in Madhya Pradesh where the BJP is locked in a high-stakes contest with the Congress to save its government.
All eyes are on Madhya Pradesh where the BJP, which has 107 MLAs in the assembly with an effective strength of 229, needs at least eight more MLAs for a simple majority.
The stakes are high for the Congress, too, as it had sitting MLAs in 27 of the 28 seats going to the polls. Twenty-five resigned early this year and joined the BJP after a rebellion by Jyotiraditya Scindia, leading to the collapse of the Kamal Nath government. They are now contesting as BJP candidates. In the three other seats, the by-election was necessitated following the deaths of the sitting legislators.
COVID-19 guidelines were in place as the first pan-India electoral exercise in the pandemic began with election staff in personal protective equipment (PPE) suits, more polling booths to prevent overcrowding, thermal screening, sanitisers and masks and gloves for voters as well as markings to ensure social distancing, officials said.
(With inputs from agencies)