Bhopal: A voter turnout of 76.22 per cent was recorded in the assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, which is the highest in the state's history, officials said on Saturday.
Polling was held for all 230 assembly constituencies in a single phase on Friday.
The voter turnout this time is the highest in the history of Madhya Pradesh since it was founded in 1956. It also surpassed the 75.63 per cent voter turnout of the 2018 assembly polls by 0.59 per cent.
Seoni district in east Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest voter turnout of 85.68 per cent, while the tribal-dominated Alirajpur in the western region saw the lowest voter turnout of 60.10 per cent, the officials said.
The second highest voter turnout of 85.23 per cent was recorded in the Naxalites-hit Balaghat district in the western region sharing a border with Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, indicating that ballots prevailed over bullets as Maoists discouraged people from voting and put roadblocks in the election process.
Figures reveal that the voter turnout percentage over the past few elections has been on the rise in the state. It was 67.25 per cent in 2003, 69.78 per cent in 2008, 72.13 per cent in 2013 and 75.63 per cent in 2018.
Since 2003, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the assembly elections thrice, while the Congress could emerge victorious only once.
In the 2003 elections, the BJP garnered 42.50 per cent votes, the Congress 31.70 per cent and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and others 10.61 per cent. The BJP won 173 seats, the Congress 38 and the BSP 2 at that time.
In the subsequent assembly elections (in 2008), the BJP polled 38.09 per cent votes, the Congress 32.85 and the BSP and others 9.08 per cent. At that time, the BJP won 143 seats, the Congress 71 and the BSP and others the rest of seats.
In 2013, the BJP received 45.19 per cent votes, Congress 36.79 and BSP and others 6.42 per cent. Result – BJP came out with flying colours in 165 seats, Congress 58 seats and BJP and others in the rest.
In 2018, the BJP garnered 41.02 per cent votes, the Congress 40.89 per cent and the BSP and others 10.83 per cent votes. Even after getting more vote share than the Congress, the BJP could win only 109 seats as against the grand old party's 114, while the rest went to the BSP, the Samajwadi Party and Independents.
The Congress last time topped the polls with a slender margin and formed the government with the help of the BSP, the SP and independents under the leadership of Kamal Nath.
However, the government collapsed in March 2020 after the rebellion by Jyotiraditya Scindia and MLAs loyal to him, paving the way for the return of the BJP government headed by Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Scindia loyalists were given key portfolios in Chouhan's cabinet after they joined the BJP and won bypolls. Scindia was made the Union Civil Aviation Minister.
In the elections held on Friday, the fates of 2,533 candidates, including CM Chouhan of the BJP and his predecessor and state Congress chief Kamal Nath, were sealed in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). A total of 64,626 polling stations were set up in the state.