Bhopal: Counting began on Sunday for the votes cast in the November 17 Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, with the results scheduled to be announced later in the day.
A total of 692 tables have been placed for the counting of postal ballots in the state, while 4,369 have been set up to place the EVMs, according to the Election Commission (EC) data.
Postal ballots will be counted between 8 a.m. and 8.30 a.m., after which the counting of votes cast via EVMs will begin in the presence of officials and political parties’ authorised agents.
The fate of 2,533 candidates, including former Chief Minister Kamal Nath and incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and many other heavyweights who contested the closely fought Assembly polls will be decided.
Currently, the BJP is in power in Madhya Pradesh after wresting control from the Congress that had formed the government in December 2018 by winning 114 seats.
The Kamal Nath-led Congress government crumbled in March 2020 after a rebellion by Jyotiraditya Scindia who joined the BJP along with 22 other MLAs.
The opposition contested the election highlighting significant issues such as price rise, economic distress of farmers and a high rate of unemployment that could affect the BJP’s chances of retaining power.
The Congress attempted to counter the BJP by making a basket of poll promises – a gas cylinder for Rs 500, a payout of Rs 1,500 in the bank accounts of married, divorced and destitute women every month (Nari Samman scheme), free electricity up to 100 units, return of the old pension scheme and a monthly stipend for school-going children called Padho-Padhao scheme.
However, the BJP has high hopes from a slew of welfare schemes targeted at women, such as the Ladli Behna Yojna announced just six months before the elections.
Besides all theis, cast equation is also to play crucial role in the results.
The BJP fielded three Union ministers and four MPs for the polls.
Among them is Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar, who contested from Dimani.
Additionally, the 34 seats in the Gwalior-Chambal region and 30 seats of Vindhya region are pegged to hold high stakes for both Congress and BJP.
The elections in Madhya Pradesh held in a single phase on November 17 witnessed a record voter turnout of 77.82 per cent – 2.19 per cent more than the 2018 elections.
Soon after the postal ballots are counted, its result will be declared candidate-wise by the officials concerned and the exercise will be followed after the completion of each round of counting, he said.
At 26, Jhabua seat will see the highest number of counting rounds, while the lowest number of 12 rounds will be held in Sevda constituency in Datia district.