MP elections: Most opinion polls have suggested a narrow lead for BJP in Madhya Pradesh
New Delhi: The heartland state of Madhya Pradesh, where the Congress is hoping to unseat the three-time winner BJP, saw a spike in turnout in today's assembly elections. Mizoram, which the BJP is trying to wrest from the Congress, saw a considerable dip. From 72.7 per cent in 2013, the provisional figure for Madhya Pradesh was 74.6 per cent. The corresponding drop in Mizoram was higher -- 77 per cent, down from last election's 83.4 per cent, the Election Commission said.
Here are the top 10 points in this big story:
- In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress is expecting anti-incumbency to sweep it back to power. But three-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan claims his party's performance over the last 15 years is enough to win him the favour of the voters. It is "pro-incumbency and not anti-incumbency" which is at work, he has told reporters.
- Mizoram is one of the four states where the Congress is still in power. For the BJP, it is the last stop in its goal of ruling the entire northeast. The BJP, which is yet to open its account in the state, is contesting in 39 of the 40 seats. The ruling Congress and the main opposition party, the Mizo National Front, have fielded 40 candidates each
- The Congress in Madhya Pradesh said reports about malfunctioning voting machines and Voter-Verified Paper Trail machines poured in from across the state. In the first hour, more than 100 complaints were received, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath said, requesting the Election Comission for prompt replacements.
- "There have been reports of the faulty EVMs from across the state. In democracy, vote is the voice of the people -- it is worrying that an effort is being made to suppress it," tweeted senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, who cast his vote in Gwalior.
- While the polling passed off peacefully in both states, three on-duty election officials died of cardiac arrest in Madhya Pradesh, news agency ANI reported. The Election Commission announced Rs. 10 lakh compensation for the families.
- Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said faulty EVMs were "attempts to manipulate people's vote for own advantage". "I have heard that only two per cent votes cast through an EVM machine can be traced. If two per cent votes are fair and 80 per cent of it is rigged, who would take the responsibility? she said.
- Today's election comes at the end of intense campaigning in Madhya Pradesh that saw Shivraj Singh Chouhan criss-crossing the state as the face of the party. The campaign was boosted by regular appearances of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
- The Congress failed to form an alliance with Mayawati, which was expected to hold benefits 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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