Madhya Pradesh By-Election 2017: Chitrakoot Prepares For A Closely-Watched BJP-Congress Clash

The BJP has fielded Shankarlal Tripathi while the Congress has pitted Neelandhu Chaturvedi. The seat fell vacant after the death of Congress legislator Prem Singh.

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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan meets with party leaders at a rally


Bhopal:  In three days, Madhya Pradesh will hold a crucial by-poll - exactly a year ahead of the assembly elections due in November 2018. On the cards is a direct fight between the Congress and the ruling BJP in the Chitrakoot Assembly constituency scheduled for Thursday. The counting would take place on November 12.

The BJP has fielded Shankarlal Tripathi while the Congress has pitted Neelandhu Chaturvedi. The seat fell vacant after the death of Congress legislator Prem Singh.

In a clear sign of how important the by-poll is, both parties have commissioned top leaders to lead the charge.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is camping for three days in the constituency seen as a Congress stronghold. "Your mama will fulfil the promise. Moong at Rs 1,455 per quintal, moongfali Rs 780 per quintal. Tell me from your heart, can any Chief Minister do this? People said we will be ruined and nothing will be left but I said Lord Ram will help us," he said in his pitch to a crowd of farmers and their families.

The Congress's Jyotiraditya Scindia, frontrunner for the party's Chief Ministerial candidate, is using the Ram Mandir issue to attack the BJP. Senior leader Kamal Nath is targeting alleged corruption and bad administration. Mr Nath reiterated his support for Jyotiraditya Scindia and said "I'll support anyone, I want youth to get employment, farmers should be happy."

Chitrakoot is also crucial for Congress's Ajay Singh - the leader of the opposition. Prem Singh, the Congress MLA whose death necessitated the poll, was his father Arjun Singh's loyalist. Voters in Chitrakoot are from three main castes Brahmin, Thakur and Kurmi. The Congress and BJP both have pitched Brahmin candidates to try and tap the 40 per cent Brahmin votes.


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