Bhopal: An estimated 41 percent voting was recorded till 1 pm in the by-elections to Shahdol Lok Sabha constituency, while the turnout was 53.28 percent in Nepanagar Assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh.
The by-polls to the twin seats, reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST), assume significance in the wake of November 8 demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes by the Modi government, and are being seen as the first major ground test for the ruling BJP.
In Shahdol Lok Sabha seat, nearly 41 percent of the voters exercised their franchise till 1 pm, Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Saleena Singh told reporters.
On the other hand, 53.28 percent polling was recorded in Nepanagar till 1 pm, she said, adding no untoward incident has been reported till now in the both constituencies.
Voters initially stayed away from polling at five booths in Shahdol to protest lack of development in their area, but agreed to take part in the election process after administration officials spoke to them.
A of total 17 candidates are in the fray in Shahdol, while four are trying their luck in Nepanagar.
While Congress has fielded Himadri Singh, daughter of former Union Minister Dalbir Singh, from Shahdol seat, BJP has given ticket to tribal leader Gyan Singh, a senior member in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan Cabinet. Himadri's mother Rajesh Nandini Singh was also a Member of Parliament.
The Shahdol bypoll was necessitated due to death of BJP MP Dalpat Singh Paraste. In 2014, Paraste had wrested the seat from Congress' Rajesh Nandini Singh. Gyan Singh had earlier won the Shahdol seat twice -- in 1996 and 1998.
In Nepanagar, Congress has reposed faith in tribal leader Antar Singh Barde, while BJP has fielded Manju Dadu, daughter of late MLA Rajendra Shyamlal Dadu, whose death in an accident necessitated the by-poll, to cash in on the sympathy vote.
Besides these prominent names, other nominees are also in the fray at both places, where counting will take place on November 22.