Politics

Congress Takes Lead In Madhya Pradesh, Ruling BJP Plays Catch Up

 NEW DELHI: The Congress was narrowly ahead of the ruling BJP in a close fight in Madhya Pradesh, where Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is seeking a record fourth term.The counting of votes for the 230 seats in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly began at 8 am on Tuesday.Over 2,900 candidates contested the November 28 assembly polls. The voter turnout was about 75 per cent.An aggregate of exit polls had predicted a close race between the BJP and the Congress. Some polls saw a Congress win.Counting began with the postal ballots at 51 centres across the state.The maximum rounds of counting 32  will take place in the Indore-5 assembly due to the highest number of booths there.In 2013 elections, the BJP had won 165 of total 230 seats, followed by the Congress at 58 and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) at 4.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi both campaigned in the state, exchanging acrimonious attacks.Given the importance of Madhya Pradesh, the prime minister addressed 10 public meetings and BJP president Amit Shah held 26 public meetings and three road shows.Rahul Gandhi addressed 22 public rallies and took out a dozen road shows.One of the prominent constituencies is Budhni, where Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in office since 2005, is seeking re-election.For the Congress, a victory in the state would set the stage for a leadership battle between its top 3 in the state - Kamal Nath, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh.

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