Why are by-polls being held in Madhya Pradesh
New Delhi, Nov 03: Voting for bypolls in 28 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh has begun amid speculation over the prospects of supporters of Congressman-turned-BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The by-elections in Madhya Pradesh were necessitated after 22 MLAs of the erstwhile Congress government switched over to the BJP in March 2020, leading to the fall of Kamal Nath's 15-month-old government.
A total of 355 candidates, including 12 ministers, are in the fray for bypolls to 28 seats in the state.
Three other Congress MLAs followed the lead of Scindia and his supporters, and joined the BJP.
Another three seats in the Assembly are vacant due to the deaths of incumbent MLAs.
In the 2018 Assembly elections, the Congress won 114 seats, two short of the majority in the 230-member House; the BJP won 109. But Congress succeeded in forming the government with the support of four Independents, two BSP MLAs, and one SP MLA.
After Scindia took away 22 MLAs and three others followed suit, the Congress' strength was reduced to 88.
With 107 MLAs currently, the BJP needs to win at least nine of these seats to cross the halfway mark in the Assembly, and for Chouhan to continue to remain Chief Minister. The Congress, on the other hand, needs to win all 28 seats if it wants to return to power in the state - or at least 21 in order to give itself a chance to bargain with the BSP, SP and Independent MLAs.
At stake in Madhya Pradesh are the political ambitions of four senior national leaders - Kamal Nath of the Congress, and Jyotiraditya Scindia, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and Narendra Singh Tomar of the BJP.
Around 33,000 security personnel have been deployed in 19 districts where these constituencies fall and all preparations have been made to hold free and fair polls, an official said.
Bypolls for 54 assembly seats in 10 states are being held today and Madhya Pradesh accounts for almost half of these seats.