Madhya Pradesh votes on Nov 25 to elect 230-member Assembly

Bhopal, Nov 24: Madhya Pradesh will go to polls on Monday to elect a 230-member Assembly with the BJP-government led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan fighting for an unprecedented third consecutive victory in the state where Congress was ousted ten years ago.

Voting will be held in 53,896 polling booths in 51 districts with the electorate of 4,64,57,724. A total of 2,583 candidates are in fray, including Chouhan, who is contesting from Budhni and Vidisha seats.

The other prominent candidates from BJP are state Urban Development Minister and former Chief Minister Babulal Gaur (Govindpura in Bhopal), Forest Minister Sartaj Singh (Seoni-Malwa in Hoshangabad district) and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra (Datia proper in Datia district).

State Home Minister Uma Shankar Gupta is fighting from Bhopal South-West while Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Gopal Bhargava from Rehli and BJP MP Yashodhara Raje Scindia from Shivpuri. The Congress' candidates are led by Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Ajay Singh, who is contesting again from the Churhat constituency in the Sidhi district.

Another prominent Congress candidate this time is Jaiwardhan Singh, the son of party General Secretary and former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh.

Jaiwardhan is in the race from Raghogarh constituency in Guna district. Candidates from 12 erstwhile royal families have also thrown their hats in the ring. The Congress has been out of power in the state since it lost elections in December 2003. 

BJP had come to power in the state in 2003, winning 173 seats, while Congress could manage only 38.

Voting will be held in 53,896 polling booths in 51 districts.

The saffron party secured a second straight term in 2008 pocketing 143 seats, while Congress got 71, BSP 7, Bhartiya Jan Shakti Party 5, SP 1 and Independent 3. There are eight Naxal-affected districts in Madhya Pradesh - Balaghat, Shahdol, Anuppur, Umaria, Mandla, Dindori, Sidhi and Singrauli.

Special measures are being taken to ensure that polling in these eight districts are smooth and trouble-free and any attempt by Naxals to obstruct polling would be thwarted, election office sources said.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Union Ministers Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia, who represent the state in the Lok Sabha, besides general secretary Digvijay Singh, led the campaign for the party. BJP's electoral charge was helmed mainly by its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, veteran leader L K Advani, party president Rajnath Singh, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, MP from Vidisha and Chouhan.

While the BJP largely sought votes citing its government's track record in good governance, it came under intense attack from Congress over corruption and "hollow" claims about efficient governance during the electioneering.

Rival sides promised to provide a transparent and a corruption-free government committed to development, providing employment, checking price rise, and effectively tackling issues like law and order.


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