More than 61% voters on Saturday exercised their franchise in elections to 11 civic bodies with people in the capital recording the lowest turnout, officials said.
Police in Indore had to use mild force to disperse ruling BJP and Congress workers involved in a stand-off over allegation and counter-allegation of fake voting. Polling in other places were by and large peaceful.
Chhindwara recorded the highest turnout with 82.70% followed by Jabalpur and Indore recording 62% voter turnout.
Bhopal recorded 56.70% polling. However, it was higher than the 52.73 per cent voting in the 2009 civic polls.
Voters from smaller towns showed more enthusiasm with Chhapiheda registering 91.39% turnout to choose its municipal council.
The elections are being seen as a test of strength for Congress which is out of power since 2003. On the other hand, the ruling BJP is hoping to continue dominance in the state it has been ruling for 12 years.
Many voters HT spoke to, however, said that looked at the candidates’ track record than the party.
"I have not voted for any party. I voted for a candidate this time who can solve my problems," said Dinesh Kumar Yadav, 42, a voter in Kolar area of Bhopal.
A voter from Arera Colony had similar views.
After coming out of the polling booth, Tej Singh, 24, said this time he didn't keep the party in mind while voting but the merit of individual candidates in mind.
"We want sincere candidates to win irrespective of party," he said.
The BJP’s state president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan said the party is "confident about victory not only in Bhopal but in other places too. The Congress is hardly seen anywhere in the fight".
Under chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is into his third term, the BJP almost made a clean sweep in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, winning 27 seats out of 29. Earlier in 2013, it had retained power by winning 165 seats in the assembly polls.
State Congress president Arun Yadav accused the administration of working for the ruling party.
“There were massive irregularities in electronic voting machines. Printing of wrong symbol in ward shows how the state election commission is not conducting a free and fair poll. The administration is working at the behest of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan,” he said.