Bhopal, Dec 11 (GCCurrentAffairs) Madhya Pradesh’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared to have a slender 45-35 lead over the principal-opposition Congress after an hour of counting of Assembly poll votes.
Postal ballots were counted first for 230 seats and electronic voting machines taken up later, sources at the state Chief Electoral Officer’s workplace said.
In Budhni, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is leading over his nearest Congress rival Arun Yadav. However, in Rewa Industry Minister Rajendra Shukla is trailing against Mr Abhay Mishra (Congress). Minister Vishvas Sarang is ahead in Narela.
Counting of votes cast on November 28 commenced on Tuesday morning at all district headquarters amid heavy security bandobast. The official time for commencement of the process was 0800 hrs. Results shall be available by evening. There shall be an average 22 rounds of counting.
A total 75.05 per cent of an electorate exceeding five crore exercised their franchise to determine the fortunes of 2,899 candidates. The BJP – in the saddle for the past one-and-a-half decades – is contesting all 230 seats, the principal-opposition Congress 229, the Bahujan Samaj Party 227 and the Aam Aadmi Party 208. This time it has been decided to provide certificates to nominees after each round of counting. Only returning officers and observers are being permitted to carry cellular phones into the counting centres.
The bigwigs in the fray include ex-Union Minister Suresh Pachouri (Bhojpur, Congress), Vidhan Sabha Speaker Sitasaran Sharma (Hoshangabad, BJP), former Union Minister Sartaj Singh (Hoshangabad, Congress) and Leader of the Opposition Ajay Singh (Churhat, Cong). Besides, state Public Relations Minister Narottam Mishra (Datia), Home Minister Bhupendra Singh (Khurai), Finance Minister Jayant Malaiya (Damoh), Revenue Minister Uma Shankar Gupta (Bhopal Dakshina-Pashchim) and Public Works Minister Rampal Singh (Silwani) are among the politicians whose fate shall be decided.
In 2013, the saffron party surged to power for a third successive time by emerging victorious in 165 constituencies. This time, Congress state President Kamal Nath has claimed that his party will bag 140 seats.