Campaigning ends for MP bypoll

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Betul, MP, Apr 10 (UNI) The din and bustle of the high-voltage campaign for the April 12 Lok Sabha bypoll in Betul constituency came to an end this evening with BJP candidate Hemanth Khandelwal locked in tight race with Congress nominee Sukhdeo Panse.

Despite having better chances, the BJP left nothing to chance in view of defeat in recent bypolls with the RSS starting its campaign for the BJP pretty early.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan campaigned vigorously for the party. Senior leader Venkaiah Naidu and actress-MP Hema Malini also campaigned election meetings.

For the Congress, main campaigners are Union Ministers Kamal Nath and Suresh Pachouri.

The SP, which had emerged third in the 2004 elections, has put up Multai legislator Sunilam. SP President Mulayam Singh Yadav, general secretary Amar Singh and actresses-SP leaders Jaya Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri campaigned for the party.

The main issue raised by the BJP during the campaign was rise in inflation during the UPA government rule in the Centre, while the Congress raised the issues of power crisis, unemployment and deteroriation of law and order.

A total of 10,96,418 electorate, including 5,20,162 females, would exercise franchise for the April 12 bypoll. These include about 3.2 lakh tribals and 2.75 lakh 'Kurmi' community voters. The BJP is eyeing tribal voters, whereas the Congress is wooing 'Kurmi' voters. Mr Panse belongs to 'Kurmi' community.

Betul constituency comprises eight assembly segments of which BJP held five, Congress two and the SP one. The BJP is facing tough contest from the Congress in Masaud, Ghodadongri, Harda and Amla segments but it seemed to be in comfortable position in Betul, Multai, Bhaisdehi and Timarni.

A total of 12 candidates, including those of Congress, BJP, SP,GGP and Samajwadi Jan Parishad besides seven independents are in the fray. Counting would take place on April 16.

UNI AG-PS msj ht1738

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