The state of Madhya Pradesh witnesses a high-stakes assembly election with 2,533 candidates, including incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his predecessor Kamal Nath, vying for victory in 230 assembly seats. The electoral landscape is dominated by a direct clash between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Indian National Congress.
Polling commenced on Friday morning across the state, encompassing all 230 assembly seats, including 47 reserved for Scheduled Tribes and 35 for Scheduled Castes. The registered electorate, exceeding 5.6 crore, eagerly participates in the democratic process.
While polling hours extend from 7 am to 6 pm in most constituencies, certain areas marked as Naxalite affected—Baihar, Lanjhi, Paraswada in Balaghat district, Bichhiya and Mandla seats in Mandla district, and 40 polling stations in Dindori district—observe a modified voting schedule from 7 am to 3 pm.
The political battleground has seen an extensive campaign effort from both major parties. The BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, orchestrated over 600 election meetings and rallies, with notable contributions from Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP Chief JP Nadda, and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, covering 164 Assembly segments, expressed optimism, emphasizing the unity of the brother-sister relationship, leveraging his flagship Ladli Behna scheme—a direct cash transfer initiative for impoverished women.
On the Congress front, with close to 350 rallies, leaders endeavoured to connect with the electorate. In Chhattisgarh, the neighbouring state, simultaneous polling for 70 seats in the 90-member Assembly is underway. Congress pins its highest hopes on Chhattisgarh, where the state BJP grapples with internal turmoil. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s leadership, credited with propelling the state towards progress, garners widespread support.
Key contenders include CM Bhupesh Baghel, Deputy CM TS Singhdeo, state minister Tamradhwaj Sahu, former Union Minister Charan Das Mahant, and BJP’s Durg MP Vijay Baghel, who contests against CM Arun Sao and MP Renuka Singh.
Vote counting for Chhattisgarh and other key states, including Telangana, Rajasthan, and Mizoram, is scheduled for December 3.