Battle lines have been drawn for the November 28 Madhya Pradesh elections in which 2,907 candidates will be into the fray from 230 assembly seats.
The deadline for a withdrawal of nomination papers for the assembly election ended on Thursday, an Election Commission official said.
Stakes are high for the BJP as the Congress is going all out to wrest power from the saffron party, which has been ruling the state for 15 years.
The highest number of 34 candidates will lock horns in Mehgaon constituency in Bhind district, while the lowest number of four nominees will battle it out in Gunnor seat in Panna district, the EC official said.
The keenly-watched constituency will be Budhni, the home turf of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The Congress has pitted former Union minister and former Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee chief Arun Yadav against him.
According to the EC official, there are 1,102 independent candidates into the fray.
Of the major parties, only the BJP has fielded candidates on all 230 seats.
During one of his addresses last month, BJP chief Amit Shah had exhorted his party workers to strive to win over 200 seats.
"The party had once registered a victory by winning 207 seats in Madhya Pradesh. So, we have given a slogan 'Abki bar, 200 par'. We are confident of achieving this target and forming the government for the fourth consecutive term," BJP spokesman Rajnish Agrawal said.
The Congress, which tried unsuccessfully to forge a pre-poll alliance with Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav-led-Samajwadi Party, later joined hands with Sharad Yadav's Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) for the election.
The Congress is contesting on 229 seats and has left one seat Jatara in Tikamgarh district for the LJD.
Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi expressed confidence that his party would form the government this time.
"There is anger against the BJP dispensation because of their fake promises. Congress will form the government by winning over 150 seats. The party has been highlighting the 15-year 'misrule' of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government and reaching out to people," he said.
The BSP has fielded 227 candidates and the SP is contesting on 51 seats.
Madhya Pradesh BSP president Pradeep Ahirwar said there is a strong anti-incumbency wave against the BJP. He added that Dalit unity would work in the party's favour and help it win 32 seats.
SP national spokesman Jagdev Singh Yadav claimed his party would win at least 10 seats. "The party has a strong presence in Bundelkhand, Chambal regions besides in Balaghat district," he said.
The Aam Aadmi Party, contesting the Madhya Pradesh election for the first time, has fielded 208 candidates.
In the last assembly poll, of the total 230 seats, the BJP had won 165 seats, Congress 58, BSP four and independents three.
As per the final electoral rolls, the state has 5,04,95,251 voters, including 2,63,01,300 males, 2,41,30,390 females and 1,389 third gender voters. In addition, there are 62,172 voters who can exercise their franchise through postal ballots.