Budhni beats the heat
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Budhni beats the heat

SOARING MERCURY could not dampen the spirit of voters in the Budhni Assembly by-elction which registered around 60 per cent turnout today.

india Updated: May 04, 2006 14:02 IST

SOARING MERCURY could not dampen the spirit of voters in the Budhni Assembly by-elction which registered around 60 per cent turnout today.

The constituency looked like a camp of police, Special Armed Force (SAF) and para-military forces given the Election Commission’s directives for strict compliance of the model code of conduct. The EC observers were criss-crossing the constituency to get feedback on malpractices if any.

The fate of BJP candidate Shivaraj Singh Chouhan, Congress nominee Rajkumar Patel and Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) candidate Guljar Singh Markam, among others, is now sealed in the electronic voting machines (EVMs). The stakes of Chief Minister are high as he pins his legitimacy hopes on Budhni.

According to official estimates, around 55 per cent of the 1,74,709 voters turned out at 189 polling booth. A conservative report put the final poll percentage figure at more than 60 per cent. BJP leaders were expecting 75 per cent turnout.

District Collector and returning officer Raghvendra Singh, and Superintendent of Police Anshuman Yadav said there was no report of booth-rigging or violence. Raghvendra Singh said certain complaints about poll malpractices were being looked into.

Belying the apprehensions of a low turnout, voters queued up at booths in good numbers since the morning. The poll percentage in the first two hours from 8 am was 15-16 per cent. In the afternoon the number was thin, but in the evening booths were flooded with voters.

Police personnel, para-military force and special armed force jawans kept vigil on movement of people and vehicles. Officials were alert against any lapse in the Election Commission’s directive on compliance of model code of

Cattious police personnel even searched Marriage parties and daily commuters. Three extra SAF battalions were deployed in the constituency taking the number 11.

Two CRPF battalions and 100 mobile units of police personnel patrolled the constituency. The police teams monitored vehicles and people at 22 points, besides patrolling by boats on the Narmada to check entry of troublemakers.

Congress candidate Patel accused the government machinery of code violations. Congress workers lodged complaints to the returning officer about distribution of liquor.

However, the complaints were not found true. At Nasrullahganj some BJP workers objected to SAF jawans checking voters’ I-cards. The BJP workers charged an MLA with intimidating voters with his bodyguards.

Chouhan and wife Sadhna Singh were the first to vote at their native village Jait at 8 am. Congress candidate Rajkumar Patel and his wife voted at Baktra.

Elsewhere in country
1 Record 82% voter turnout in three districts in Bengal

2 Kerala didn’t do too badly itself. It recorded a turnout of 75%

3 Polling in both states was largely peaceful except for some stray incidents in Kerala P5

First Published: May 04, 2006 14:02 IST