Voting begins for 230 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, one of the most crucial heartland states has started after weeks of high-pitched, hectic campaigning.
Voting has also begun in hill state Mizoram the BJP’s last frontier in the northeast. In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP, led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, is seeking a fourth term in power.
The Congress is banking on anti-incumbency for what it calls a “make or break election”. Mizoram is one of the five states where Rahul Gandhi’s party is still in power. For the BJP, it is a crucial box to be ticked to reach their goal of ruling the northeast.
Know the big story:
1) The BJP has been dominant in Madhya Pradesh since 1990. Amid reports of public anger, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has been in power since 2005, says his achievements growth rate of 10 per cent, agricultural growth rate of 20 per cent and a five-fold rise in per capita income – will help him get a fourth term.
2) Mr Chouhan today said it is “pro-incumbency and anti-incumbency” which is at work in the state. Projected as the face of the party in the state, Mr Chouhan has been criss-crossing the state over the last weeks in a campaign that has been boosted by regular appearances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
3) The Congress failed to form an alliance with Mayawati, which was expected to yield huge dividends in a state with a chunk of Scheduled Caste voters. An analysis of data from 2013 assembly elections showed that an alliance between the two would have meant victory in another 41 seats.
4) Mayawati ruled out an alliance with the Congress in the current round of assembly elections. Kamal Nath told that the talks fell through as the “number of seats and the type of seats” she wanted didn’t add up to a “winning combination”.
5) The Congress campaign in Madhya Pradesh has been dogged by reports of fallout between its three power centres in the state Kamal Nath, who has been made the election in-charge, former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia, a close aide of party chief Rahul Gandhi. The leaders have denied any rift.
6) On eve of polling, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, in an open letter to the people of Madhya Pradesh, appealed for support. For more than a decade, Madhya Pradesh has been known more for firing upon farmers, crimes against women, scams like Vyapam and Bundelkhand package, rising unemployment, sand mafia and for usurping rights of tribals, he said in the letter.
7) Shashank Shukla, a top data analyst of the Congress has claimed the party has a 2.8 per cent edge over BJP in Madhya Pradesh. Most opinion polls have suggested a narrow lead for the BJP. A poll of the opinion polls suggests the BJP is likely to get 116 seats the majority mark the Congress, 102.
8) In Mizoram, where Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla is seeking a third consecutive term, the ruling Congress and the main opposition party, the Mizo National Front, have fielded 40 candidates each. The BJP, hoping to open its account in the state, is contesting in 39 seats. The Zoram Peoples’ Movement, an alliance formed by two political parties and four groups, is contesting in 35 seats.
9) Since it became a full-fledged state in 1987, the Congress and the Mizoram National Party have ruled Mizoram. In the 2013 elections, the Congress won 34 seats, the MNF, got five and the Mizoram People’s Conference bagged one seat. No party has been able to form government thrice.
10) The counting of votes for Madhya Pradesh Pradesh and Mizoram will take place on December 11, along with that of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, where assembly elections are also being held.>