Voting for by elections in 54 assembly seats in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Odisha, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Nagaland is also taking place today.
In Gujarat, voting for bypolls to 8 assembly constituencies began at 7 this morning. The voting will continue till 6 pm. Total 81 candidates are in fray for 8 seats. Polling has started for by-elections of 8 assembly seats Gujarat, which include Abadasa, Limbdi, Morbi, Dhari, Karjan, Gadhada SC and Dang and Kaprada ST seats.
More than 18 lakh 17 thousand voters including more than 9 lakh women voters are eligible to use their franchise. Elaborate arrangements have been made for free and fair polling including tight security arrangements. Mask, Sanitizers, face shields and hand gloves have been provided to all polling staff including security personnel. Sanitizers, Soaps and water for hand wash have been kept at all polling booths for voters. Thermal screening is compulsory for all voters before entering the polling booth. 3024 polling booths have been set up at 1807 places. Maximum limit of voters per polling booth has been reduced from 1500 to 1000 to maintain social distancing.
In Madhya Pradesh, polling is underway for byelections to 28 assembly constituencies. Voting, which began at 7 am, will conclude 6 pm. 355 candidates including 22 women are in the fray. Maximum 38 candidates are in Mehgaon seat of Morena district while the minimum 3 candidates are in Badnawar seat of Dhar district. All arrangements have been made to ensure free and fair polling. Eighty four companies of the Central Police Force have been deployed at the polling centers. AIR correspondent reports that, the Election Commission has already made all preparations for peaceful and fair voting. 13 thousand 115 ballot units and control units and 14 thousand 50 VVPET have been made available for voting. 355 candidates including 14 ministers are in the fray. A total of 3 thousand 38 critical polling booths have been identified in the by-elections. Arrangement of 250 flying squads and 293 police posts have been made for peaceful, fair, transparent and safe polling.
Additional Chief Electoral Officer Arun Kumar Tomar informed that over 63 lakh 88 thousand voters are exercising their franchise in these 28 seats. There are 33 lakh 72 thousand male and 29 lakh 77 thousand female voters among them. 198 voters of third gender are also part of the election process. Meanwhile, of these 28 seats, 27 were held by Congress and the only Agar seat was occupied by BJP.
In Uttar Pradesh, voting for by-elections to 7 Assembly seats will be held from 7 am to 6 pm today, adhering to all COVID-19 guidelines. Out of these seven seats, six were held by the BJP and one by Samajwadi Party. AIR correspondent reports, in the wake of the Covid pandemic all necessary arrangements have been made for the free fair and corona free polling at all the polling stations. These by elections are crucial for the ruling BJP who campaigned extensively under leadership of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. He has completed more than 3.5 years in the office and the results can give a sense of mood of the public before assembly elections in 2022.
The seven seats on which pilling is going on are Naugawan Sadat in Amroha Bulandshahar, Tundla seat in firozabad Bangarmau in Unnao, Ghatampur in Kanpur dehat ,Deoria sadr and Malahani in Jaunpur district. Altogether there are 88 candidates in the fray for these 7 seats with Bulandshahr seat having the highest number of 18 candidates while the Ghatampur seat has the lowest of 6.
In Odisha, voting is underway for byelection to the Baleswar sadar and Tirtol assembly constituencies. Adequate arrangements have been made for security as well as for making the entire process covid safe. More than 800 polling stations have been set up in the two constituencies. AIR correspondent reports, while 90 platoons of police force and 6 companies of Central armed police forces has been deployed to ensure security of the polling process in both the constituencies, more than three thousand polling personnel are engaged to conduct voting.
Along with this, about eight hundred Anganwadi and ASHA workers and an equal number of volunteers have also been deployed to assist in making the process covid safe.
As per the arrangement, while all the polling booths will continue to be intermittently sanitized as the polling progresses through the day, voters are being made to pass through thermal screening before they can cast their votes. Those with high body temperature are being issued tokens to cast their votes at last.
A maximum of one thousand voters will be allowed at each polling station to cast their votes for which the number polling stations have almost been doubled to ensure social distancing and other covid-19 preventive protocols.
Byelection is also being held for Marwahi assembly seat in Chhattisgarh. This seat is reserved for Scheduled Tribes candidate. AIR correspondent reports, in Marwahi assembly constituency of Chhattisgarh, more than one lath 91 thousand voters, including 97 thousand females, are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of eight candidates in this by-election. Total 286 polling stations have been set up.
In view of Covid-19 pandemic, special precautions are being taken in polling stations. Availability of thermal scanner, hand sanitiser, soap and water were ensured at polling stations. According to the guidelines of the Election Commission of India, voters will not be able to vote in the polling stations without wearing mask and sanitizing their hands. Special arrangements have been made for Corona affected voters, they can exercise their franchise in the last one hour of polling.