Neck-to-neck contest between Congress and BJP in Mahakaushal region

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Jabalpur, Nov 25 (UNI) With two days to go for single-phase polling in Madhya Pradesh, a neck-to-neck contest between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is expected in Mahakaushal region, which plays an important role in state politics.

Of the 45 seats in Jabalpur division, the BJP had recorded an unprecedented victory winning 36 seats during assembly polls in 2003, while the Congress had to contend with five seats followed by the Gondwana Ganatantra Party (3) and the Janata Dal-United (1).

After the delimitation exercise, six assembly seats had disappeared and Dindori district separated from Jabalpur division.

Now, the Mahakaushal region comprises of merely 36 seats.

Last time, the GGP had won three seats and emerged runners-up on three seats pushing the Congress to third or fourth spot. However, the GGP appeared weak this time with the party being divided and a faction forming separate party Gondwana Mukti Sena, which is also contesting polls.

Vidhan Sabha Speaker Ishwardas Rohani (BJP) is locked in direct contest with Alok Mishra (Cong) from Jabalppur cantonment seat, former minister Ajay Vishnoi (BJP) with Vikram Singh Lodhi (Cong) from Patan seat, Minister of State Harendrajeet Singh Babbu (BJP) with Tarun Bhanot (Cong) from Jabalpur West, MoS Moti Kashyap (BJP) with Geeta Bhagat (Cong) from Badwara (SC) seat.

Former minister Dhal Singh Bisen (BJP) and former minister Harvansh Singh (Cong) are in direct contest from Kewlari seat in Seoni district, former minister Om Prakash Dhurve (BJP) with Omkar Singh Markam (Cong) from Dindori seat in Dindori district, former minister Premnarayan Thakur (BJP) and Kamlesh Saha (Cong) from Amarwada seat and Minister Choudhary Chandrabhan Singh (BJP) and former minister Deepak Saxena (Cong) from Chhindwara seat in Chhindwara district.

A four-cornered contest is expected on four out of six seats in Balaghat district, while a triangular contest is expected at Narsinghpur seat in Narsinghpur district due to the presence of former BJP MLA Jalam Singh Patel as Bharatiya Jan Shakti candidate.

For the BJP, party's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani, BJP MP Sushma Swaraj, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, BJP MP Navjot Sidhu, actress Hema Malini, television artist Smriti Irani and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan campaigned for the party in the region.

On other hand, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, MP Rahul Gandhi, Union Minister Kamal Nath, state Congress President Suresh Pachouri and former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh campaigned for their party.

UNI RG-PS 1736

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