Campaigning concludes in Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) The high-decibel campaign, often marked by bitter personal attacks, ended on Monday in Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram which go to polls on Wednesday to elect new Assemblies. The electioneering saw both the BJP, which is power in Madhya Pradesh for the past 15 years, and the ruling Congress in Mizoram trying to stave off anti-incumbency to retain power.

In a virtualy BJP versus Congress fight, the saffron party's campaign in Madhya Pradesh was spearheaded by political heavyweights, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is straining every nerve to secure a fourth term while the rival campaign was led by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and other senior party leaders who addressed several rallies to woo the voters.

However, in the battle for supremacy in the election to 40-member Mizoram Assembly, the fight is largely between the Congress and the Mizo National Front led by former chief minister Zoramthanga while BJP and others are also in the fray.

Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla of the Congress is seeking a hattrick of wins this time and claims there is no incumbency against his government.

The voting in both the states will be held in a single phase on Wednesday, November 28.

Over five crore registered voters in Madhya Pradesh -- 2,63,01,300 men, 2,41,30,390 women and 1,389 comprising the third gender -- will decide the fate of 2,907 candidates. There are 62,172 voters who can exercise their franchise through postal ballots.

Among the 2,907 candidates in Madhya Pradesh, the BJP has fielded candidates for all 230 seats while the Congress is contesting for 229 seats leaving one seat, Jatara in Tikamgarh district, for Sharad Yadav-led LJD.

The BSP has fielded 227 candidates and the SP is contesting for 51 seats. There are 1,102 independent candidates in the fray.

The Prime Minister, who addressed three election rallies in Rajasthan on Monday, refrained from campaigning in Madhya Pradesh on the last day. He, however, addressed two election rallies in the state on Sunday.

In his campaign, Modi attacked the Congress on corruption, dynasty politics and several other issues and also gave accounts of the achievements of the state and the Centre.

Besides addressing several rallies, Shah on the last day held a road show in Indore. Chouhan toured extensively in the state and sought votes in the name of development.

On his part, Rahul Gandhi attacked Modi and his government on issues of corruption, unemployment, farmers' plight and the promises made by Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and by Shivraj in the 2013 elections.

State Congress chief Kamal Nath, former union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and several top leaders of the party camped in various parts of the state and held many election rallies and road shows.

Some video clips of Kamal Nath also sparked a controversy during the electioneering which gave the ruling BJP an opportunity to attack it.

The keenly-watched constituency will be Budhni, the home turf of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The Congress has pitted former Union minister and former Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee chief Arun Yadav against him.

In the last assembly poll, of the total 230 seats, the BJP had won 165 seats, Congress 58, BSP four and independents three.

In Mizoram, a total of 209 candidates are in the fray.

The ruling Congress has fielded 40 candidates while opposition parties in the state, BJP and Mizo National Front (MNF), are contesting in 39 and 40 assembly constituencies respectively.

Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla is contesting for two seats -- Serchhip and Champhai South.

Mizoram is the last bastion of Congress in the north east as it is the only state in that part of the country where BJP has no presence. The state is being ruled by the Congress since 2008.

Around 7.7 lakh voters will decide the fate of 209 candidates.

Counting of votes in both the states will be held on the December 11.

--IANS

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