Bhopal: The stage is set for the second phase of assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where 230 and 70 seats will go to polls on November 17. The campaigning for the high-stakes elections will end today at 6 pm, with all the parties making their last-ditch efforts to woo the voters.
The elections are seen as a direct contest between the ruling BJP and the main opposition Congress, which are leaving no stone unturned to showcase their achievements and promises. Both parties have fielded their star campaigners and bigwigs to address rallies, public meetings, and road shows across the two states.
The first phase of polling in Chhattisgarh was held on November 7 for 20 seats, which witnessed a voter turnout of 76.28%. The second phase will cover the remaining 70 seats, including the capital Raipur, and the Naxal-affected Bastar region. The BJP is eyeing a fourth consecutive term in the state, while the Congress hopes to end its 15-year-long drought.
In Madhya Pradesh, the BJP is facing a tough challenge from the Congress, which is trying to cash in on the anti-incumbency factor and the farmers’ unrest. The BJP, on the other hand, is banking on the popularity of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the development work done by his government. The state has 230 assembly seats, of which 28 are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 35 for the Scheduled Tribes.
Today, on the last day of campaigning, both parties have deployed their heavyweights to woo the voters. Union Home Minister Amit Shah will address three public meetings in Chhattisgarh, in Saja, Janjgir, and Korba. BJP president JP Nadda will also hold two public meetings in Arang and Ambikapur.
In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will hold public meetings in Narmadapuram, Betul, Dewas, Sehore, Raisen, Vidisha, and Bhopal. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will address Panna, Ashok Nagar, Bhopal, and Chhindwara rallies. Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia will be in Gwalior, Union Minister Prahlad Patel and Union Minister Faggan Singh Kulaste will be in Damoh and Raisen, while Union Minister Smriti Irani will be in Jabalpur and Balaghat. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will also hold a public meeting in Chhindwara.
The results of the assembly elections in both states will be declared on December 3, along with those of Rajasthan and Telangana, which will also go to polls in the coming weeks. The elections are being seen as a semi-final before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, which will decide the fate of the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre.