Voting for bypolls took place in two key assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha's Bijepur assembly seat. 77.05 per cent and 70.40 percent voting turnout was recorded in Mungaoli and Kolaras respectively. In Odisha's Bijepur bypoll, 72 per cent polling was recorded till 5pm.
The by-elections in Madhya Pradesh are seen as providing an opportunity to gauge the mood of the state that will go for assembly elections this year. Both seats are currently held by the Congress.
The Congress has fielded Mahendra Singh Yadav from Kolaras and Brijendra Singh Yadav from Mungaoli, while the BJP has fielded Baisahab Yadav from Mungaoli and Devendra Jain from Kolaras.
Both the BJP and Congress are confident of the victory on the two seats, that fall under Guna Lok Sabha constituency, the pocket-borough of Congress stalwart Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The bypolls were necessitated due to the death of sitting Congress MLAs Mahendra Singh Kalukheda (Mungaoli) and Ram Singh Yadav (Kolaras).
For Scindia, retaining both the seats in his home turf is a battle of prestige as he is positioning himself as the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress. Aware of the high stakes involved, the Gwalior royal has been constantly touring these two seats in a bid to ward off the saffron challenge.
In Odisha, district of Bargarh has seen more union ministers, parliamentarians, MLAs, film stars, politicians than any poll in Odisha might have ever witnessed.
Odisha's two union ministers, Dharmendra Pradhan and Jual Oram, have led BJP's campaign in the district. Smriti Irani addressed three rallies. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik spent a night in the constituency during his hectic two-day schedule of rallies. This is the last bypoll in the state before the 2019 general elections.
The by-poll is necessitated due to death of Congress MLA Subal Sahu. BJD candidate Rita Sahu, Pranay Sahu of Congress and BJP's Ashok Panigrahi are in the fray. For the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines will be used in the Bijepur by-poll.
Counting for all the three assembly constituencies will be held on February 28.
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