Budhni(MP), May 3 : More than 25 per cent of the 1.74 lakh electorate exercised their franchise through EVMs in the Assembly byelection in Budhni constituency in Madhya Pradesh by noon today.
Polling was progressing peacefully in all 189 booths, where elaborate security arrangements were in place, an official spokesman said.
Two companies of CRPF and 4 of Special Armed Force have been deployed in the sprawling rural constituency spread over more than 350 villages, many dotting the bank of Narmada river.
An average 16 per cent polling was registered in the first two hours as the booths opened at 0800 hours.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, accompanied by wife Sadhana, exercised his franchise at his native Jaith village at booth No.163 housed at the village primary school.
Earlier, he offered prayers to the Narmada Mai and at other village temples.
Congress candidate Rajkumar Patel cast his vote at booth No 182 at Baktara village. His wife Meeta Patel accompanied him.
A total of 1,74,819 electorate, including 82,498 female, are listed to exercise their right of franchise in Budhni in Sehore district.
Besides Mr Chouhan and Mr Patel, Mr Gulzar Singh Markam of Gondwana Gantantra Party and Samajwadi Party's Narmada Prasad Yadav and 12 independents are in the fray for Budhni seat, which fell vacant after Mr Rajendra Singh (BJP) resigned to pave way for Mr Chouhan's entry into the Vidhan Sabha. Mr Chouhan, who is Lok Sabha member from Vidisha, assumed the Chief Minister's post on November 29 last year.