A voter turnout of 44.61 per cent was recorded till 1 pm in nine Lok Sabha seats of Madhya Pradesh in the third phase of the general elections on Tuesday, a poll official said.

Former chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Digvijaya Singh, and state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president V D Sharma were among the early voters.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, who are contesting the polls from Rajgarh and Guna, respectively, will not be able to vote for themselves as the former is a registered voter of Bhopal and the latter is registered to vote from Gwalior, party sources said.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the BJP candidate from Vidisha seat, exercised franchise with his wife, Sadhna Singh, and two sons at a polling booth in his native village, Jait, in Sehore district.

Polling began at 7 am and will conclude at 6 pm across 20,456 polling stations, including 1,043 managed by women personnel and 75 by Divyang employees, an election official said.

Of the nine Lok Sabha seats, Betul recorded 48.26 per cent voting, Bhind 37.37 per cent, Bhopal 40.41 per cent, Guna 49.93 per cent, Gwalior 41.18 per cent, Morena 39.24 per cent, Rajgarh 52.60 per cent, Sagar 44.32 per cent and Vidisha 50.46 per cent, the official said.

In order to ensure smooth conduct of the election process, the administration made the local candidates sit in the police control room in Morena in the Gwalior-Chambal region, which is considered a sensitive area.

Also read: LS polls in Maharashtra: 6.64% turnout till 9 am; Pawars among early voters

The police made BJP candidate Shivmangal Singh Tomar, BSP's Ramesh Chandra Garg and Congress candidate Satyapal Sikarwar sit in the police control room, Superintendent of Police Shailendra Singh Chouhan said. The candidates came to the police control room with their consent and sat together, as it has happened here in the past, he said.

A total of 1.77 crore voters will decide the fate of 127 candidates who are contesting from Morena, Bhind (SC-reserved), Gwalior, Guna, Sagar, Vidisha, Bhopal, Rajgarh and Betul (ST-reserved) seats spread across 19 districts of the state. Polling in the Betul (ST) constituency was initially scheduled to be held in the second phase on April 26 but was deferred due to the death of a candidate.

In all, 127 candidates, including nine women, are in the fray in the third phase of the elections.

Bhopal has the highest number of 22 candidates, while Bhind has the lowest at 7.

Voters include 92.68 lakh men, 84.83 lakh women, and 491 members of the third gender, while 1.66 lakh voters are 'divyangjan' (people with disabilities), 88,106 are above the age of 85, and 1,804 are 100 plus years old, the poll official said.

Also read: Lok Sabha Election 2024 Phase 3 Updates: Polling underway in 93 seats; PM Modi, Shah cast vote

As many as 5.25 lakh voters are in the age group of 18-19 years.

Of the 29 Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh, polling for 12 seats took place in the first two phases on April 19 and 26. The remaining eight seats will go to polls in the fourth phase on May 13.