Two assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh are voting today in what is largely seen as a battle that will gauge the mood of voters ahead of the assembly elections in the state later this year. Mungaoli and Kolaras have seen high-voltage campaigns from the ruling BJP and the Congress that’s keen on retaining the two seats. While Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has led the BJP campaign along with a host of his ministers, leading the opposition attack is Congress lawmaker Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Here are the ten developments
- Both the seats fall under Jyotiraditya Scindia’s parliamentary constituency Guna, and were earlier held by the Congress. In an area once ruled by his ancestors, the former royal has claimed in rally after rally that the contest was not between two parties but “between Shivraj Singh Chouhan and me”.
- Mr Chouhan has dismissed it as a battle between two individuals, saying “I am not here for a wrestling match”. The BJP that lost bypolls to two seats held last year to the Congress is keen on recovering lost ground.
- Mr Scindia, who has addressed over 75 rallies and 15 road shows, says he is confident of a Congress victory in the bypolls and the assembly elections ahead. “Why wait for six months? I am saying let’s have the assembly polls now.”
- The chief minister has addressed over 40 rallies and done over 10 road shows. 18 cabinet ministers have accompanied him during the campaign. “Yes, they are ministers but they are party workers too,” said Mr Chouhan.
- The BJP that has been in power for 15 years in the state has pitched for development in the Congress bastion. “Give us five months, the government will deliver five years of work,” said Mr Chouhan. Mr Scindia retorted by asking “where were you for five years?”
- The Congress has not yet named a chief ministerial candidate for the assembly elections. Mr Scindia’s supporters believe a Congress win in the bypolls would make him a strong claimant to the post. Although former union minister Kamal Nath has campaigned in the bypolls, former chief minister Digvijaya Singh is away on his Narmada Parikrama Yatra.
- Ahead of polling, the district collector of Ashoknagar BS Jamod was removed by the election commission after the Congress complained of massive discrepancies in electoral rolls. Claiming that government machinery had been misused, the Congress alleged that there were 20,000 fake voters. The BJP has dismissed the allegations, calling them “rubbish”.
- On Thursday, a Congress delegation met the election commission, alleging that the party candidate from Kolaras, Mahendra Singh Yadav, was injured in police lathicharge when they tried to stop the car of BJP lawmaker from Bhind that allegedly had cash in it. The BJP lodged a counter-case, alleging that Congress workers damaged the lawmaker’s car and tried to beat him.
- The BJP lawmaker from Sagar was booked for poll code violation on Friday after he was seen in Mungaoli. After campaigning for a seat ends, rules bar the presence of elected public representatives from outside till voting concludes.
- Voting for the two seats began at 8 am and will go on till 5 pm. The results will be declared on February 28.