Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh Vote Today In High-Stakes Battle: 10 Facts

The Congress claims the BJP’s return to power has pushed anti-incumbency to never-before heights.

Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, two of the three heartland states making headlines ahead of next year’s general election, vote today. Madhya Pradesh votes in a single phase. Chhattisgarh is voting in the second of two; the first was on November 7.

Here are top 10 points on this big story:

  1. In Madhya Pradesh’s Budhni, the EVM (electronic voting machine) at the polling centre where Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will vote malfunctioned. Voting was halted and there was a queue of people outside waiting to exercise their franchise. The EVM has since been fixed. Budhni is also the seat from which Mr Chouhan is contesting.

  2. Chhattisgarh is the one state from which the Congress has the highest hope in this round of elections. Not only is the state BJP in a disarray, there is massive support for Bhupesh Baghel, the Chief Minister who set the state on the path of progress, the party claims. The Congress is aiming to win 75 of the state’s 90 seats.  

  3. But of the two states, Madhya Pradesh with 230 seats is generating bigger interest given the twist in the backstory of this election. The collapse of the Congress government led by Kamal Nath in 2020 following Jyotiraditya Scindia and his 22 loyalists’ walkover, placed the BJP back in power again. The Congress claims the BJP’s return to power has pushed anti-incumbency to never-before heights. Now each party is out to prove they have been the people’s choice.

  4. Soft spoken Mr Chouhan, dubbed “mama” — maternal uncle — has been one of the state’s most popular Chief Ministers. The BJP, though, has not projected him as the Chief Ministerial candidate this time, and campaigned under the banner of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.   

  5. The party has also fielded an unprecedented seven MPs, including Union ministers Narendra Singh Tomar, Pralhad Patel and Faggan Singh Kulaste. Though Jyotiraditya Scindia is not contesting, the performance of his loyalists will have a crucial effect in the power balance with the party’s old guard.  

  6. Many feel this signals the Central leadership’s readiness to go for a new face for the top job. Others claim the party will have trouble replacing Mr Chouhan, one of the state’s tallest OBC leaders who also has a mass following.   

  7. The BJP has focused particularly on the Gwalior-Chambal and Mahakoshal regions — where it fared badly in the 2018 elections. The area accounts for 72 of the state’s 230 assembly seats.  

  8. The second phase of election in Chhattisgarh has a line-up of heavyweights — Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, his deputy TS Singh Deo, eight state ministers and four members of Parliament.  

  9. The traditional binary contest in the state between the Congress and the BJP, has become a multi-cornered tussle with the entry of Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party in the race.   

  10. Counting of votes for both states will take place on December 3, along with votes for Telangana, Rajasthan and Mizoram, where elections are taking place in this round. 

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