MP: Fate of 355 candidates sealed in EVMs

MP: Fate of 355 candidates sealed in EVMs

Bhopaal: The fate of 355 candidates, including 12 ministers of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan's cabinet has been sealed in EVMs by the voters of the 28 Assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh where ever a largest by-polls were conducted in the history of the state on Tuesday. The counting of the votes will be held on November 10.

Total turnout in all 28 seats of 66.37 per cent recorded till 6 pm in Madhya Pradesh, according to the Election Commission.

Barring some incidents like firings, verbal scuffles at the few places in Chambal region's Mehgaon and Sumawali constituencies where ministers OPS Bhadouria and Endal Kansana are contesting, the by-polls were concluded peacefully in the state. Around 33,000 security personnel were deployed in 19 districts where these constituencies fall and all preparations were made to hold free and fair polls, the EC said.

The by-polls are not only crucial for Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and former CM Kamal Nath but will also decide the political future of the BJP's newly entered Jyotiraditya Scindia who had quit the Congress in March 2020.

On the high turnout in the Covid-19 crises, CM Chouhan said that the people of the state had pushed the button on his works of the seven months.

"People of Madhya Pradesh know that Shivraj Singh Chouhan has just lied in the last 6 months and has done nothing for the development of the state. Voters will now give a chance to Congress to work for the state," said Kamal Nath, former CM and state Congress chief on by-polls.

The by-elections were necessitated after the Congress government in the state fell when 22 of its MLAs resigned from the membership of the Assembly and joined the BJP along with Scindia, leading to the fall of Kamal Nath's 15-month-old government. After then, three other Congress legislators had also walked away with the BJP and resigned from the Assembly membership. Another three seats, Agar Malwa, Joura and Biaora were vacant due to the sad demise of the incumbent MLAs.

Interestingly, the Congress MLAs who resigned from the 25 seats are in the fray as BJP candidates.

The Gwalior-Chambal region where 16 Assembly seats out of 28 have fallen was focused during the electioneering by the Congress and BJP as well as Jyotiraditya. This region is considered a bastion of Scindias since the Independence but Jyotiraditya Scindia lost the Lok Sabha election from his family's traditional seat Guna in 2019.

The BJP at present has 107 MLAs and it needs to win just eight more seats to reach the magic figure of 115 –the simple majority mark in the 229-member house. One more Congress MLA Rahul Lodhi recently resigned from the 230-member Assembly and joined the BJP. Additionally, there are four independents, two BSP and a Samajwadi Party MLAs. The two Independents had already come in the support of the ruling party in March while another out of four has recently given his support to the government.

The Congress' strength in the House has now been reduced to 87. In this situation, Congress needs all 28 seats to return to the power. So, the arithmetic of the Assembly says that the by-polls are crucial for both BJP and Congress to regain the government and to return to the power.

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