The Congress, which is in power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, and the BJP, which is ruling Madhya Pradesh, are locked in a fight in these three states and Telangana
Police personnel stand guard at the EVM’s strong room where ballots for Telangana Assembly elections were kept . Pic/PTI
Counting of votes will be held on Sunday in assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana in what is seen as a semi-final contest ahead of the general elections in less than six months.
The Congress, which is in power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, and the BJP, which is ruling Madhya Pradesh, are locked in a straight fight in these three states, while K Chandrashekar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is hoping for a hat-trick in Telangana.
Pollsters have been divided on the outcome, with quite a few exit polls putting the BJP ahead in Madhya Pradesh and giving it an edge in Rajasthan while predicting that Congress has an advantage in Telangana and Chhattisgarh.
Starting with postal ballots, counting will commence at 8 am amid tight security for 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh, 90 seats in Chhattisgarh, 119 seats in Telangana and 199 seats in Rajasthan as polling on one seat in the desert state was put off due to the death of a candidate.
After wresting Karnataka from the BJP in May, the Congress is eyeing Madhya Pradesh and Telangana and is hoping to retain power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. An impressive performance in these polls will boost the party's standing in the opposition INDIA alliance which has been formed to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The BJP is seeking to replicate the winning streak of Gujarat, where it has been ruling since 1998, in Madhya Pradesh with four-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan hoping to form government again. The party is also keen to win back Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh as it seeks to regain its hold in the Hindi heartland states ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
“The face of the Congress has been exposed. Only the results are to come. The good governance that the public wanted will be found under the BJP government,” Union minister Anurag Thakur said. 9With several pollsters predicting a close fight)
The counting for 230 assembly seats in MP will be held at 52 district headquarters, officials said. As many as 2,533 candidates are in contention, including political bigwigs like CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his predecessor and rival Kamal Nath, in a poll that was largely a bipolar battle between the ruling BJP and the Congress. Chouhan claimed his party would retain power with a “huge majority” while state Congress chief Kamal Nath said he had “complete confidence” in the voters of the state.
Over 1800 candidates are in contention in 199 seats in Rajasthan where power has alternated between Congress and BJP every five years in the last three decades. “The counting of ballot papers will start at 8 pm. As many as 979 tables have been arranged for the counting of ballot papers across the state. Strong rooms will be opened in the presence of observers, candidates and their representatives,” Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Gupta said. Gupta said that the counting of votes in EVM machines will begin at 8.30 am.
Tight security arrangements have been made in all counting centres in the state’s 33 districts, including the ones affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), officials said. “The counting of postal ballots will begin at 8 am. Half an hour after the postal ballots are counted, the process of counting votes from the EVMs will begin. A total of 90 returning officers, 416 assistant returning officers, 4596 counting personnel and 1698 micro-observers have been appointed for a smooth process,” Chhattisgarh Chief Electoral Officer Reena Baba Saheb Kangale said.
As many as 2,290 contestants are in the fray in the elections, including BRS supremo Chandrasekhar Rao, his-son KT Rama Rao, TPCC president A Revanth Reddy and BJP Lok Sabha members Bandi Sanjay Kumar, D Arvind and Soyam Bapu Rao. The BRS has fielded candidates in all 119 seats while the Congress gave one seat to its ally CPI. The BJP and Janasena contested 111 and seats respectively in a pre-poll pact. The Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM has put up candidates in nine segments. CM K Chandrasekar Rao is contesting from Gajwel and Kamareddy.
This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever