Bhopal, In an unprecedented battle for Madhya Pradesh, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lines appeared to be breaking by 1600 hrs as the principal-opposition Congress led in 112 constituencies compared to the saffron camp’s 107 while counting of Assembly poll votes continued on Tuesday.
Introspection has already commenced in the Congress and saffron camps over the possible equations vis-a-vis government formation.
Both parties received in excess of 41 per cent votes and with one result being declared the Congress raised its banner in Jhabua District’s Thandla where its candidate Mr Veer Singh defeated his nearest rival Mr Kalsingh Bhabar of the BJP. Meanwhile the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is ahead in four places and others in six.
Dozens of Congress and BJP nominees have notched up decisive margins in Sagar, Ratlam and some other districts where counting is in the final phase.
Numerous ministers of the BJP – which has been in the saddle for one-and-a-half decades – are trailing and they include Dr Narottam Mishra, Mr Rustam Singh, Mr Rampal Singh, Mr Antarsingh Arya, Mr Jayant Malaiya, Ms Archana Chitnis and Mr Lalsingh Arya.
In Budhni, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is leading by a margin exceeding 30,000 over his nearest Congress rival Arun Yadav who served as that party’s state President. In 2013, Mr Chouhan emerged victorious by more than 84,000 votes.
The Vidhan Sabha’s Leader of the Opposition Ajay Singh is not faring well in his family bastion Churhat against Mr Sharadendu Tiwari (BJP).
Postal ballots were counted first for 230 seats and electronic voting machines taken up later, sources at the Chief Electoral Officer’s workplace said. Counting of votes cast on November 28 commenced on Tuesday morning at all district headquarters amid heavy security bandobast. The official time for commencement of the process was 0800 hrs.
A total 75.05 per cent of an electorate exceeding five crore exercised their franchise to determine the fortunes of 2,899 candidates. The BJP is contesting all 230 seats, the Congress 229, the BSP 227 and the Aam Aadmi Party 208. This time it has been decided to provide certificates to nominees after each round of counting. Only returning officers and observers are being permitted to carry cellular phones into the counting centres.
The Congress ruled for a decade from 1993 but was ousted by the BJP’s historic victory in 2003. In 2013, the saffron party surged to power for a third successive time by winning 165 constituencies whereas the Congress was restricted to 58.