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Preparations complete for third phase of LS polls in MP on Sunday

Press Trust of India  |  Bhopal 

Eight Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh will go to polls on Sunday at the end of an acrimonious duel between the BJP and the Congress centred around farm loan waiver.

MP Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao said all preparations for the polls have been completed.

In Bhopal, Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh is locked in a battle with BJP nominee and Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, while Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia is seeking re-election from the Guna seat.

Union Minister Narendra Tomar, sitting MP from Gwalior, is seeking election from Morena Lok Sabha seat.

Vidisha, once represented by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and newspaper baron Ramnath Goenka, also goes to polls on Sunday.

Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, MP from Vidisha, opted out of electoral this time due to health reasons.

Other seats which are going to polls are Bhind (SC), Gwalior, Sagar and Rajgarh.

Of the eight seats, seven were won by the BJP in 2014.

A total of 138 candidates, including 14 women, are in the fray for the eight Lok Sabha seats.

There are 25 candidates in Morena, 18 each in Bhind and Gwalior, 13 in Guna, 10 in Sagar, 13 in Vidisha, 30 in Bhopal and 11 in Rajgarh, CEO Rao said.

He said a total 18,141 polling booths have been set up for more than 1.44 crore voters, including 32,909 service electors, across these eight seats, adding that 45,053 security personnel have been deployed for the polls.

Electioneering to these seats saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Congress president Rahul Gandhi trading charges on farm loan waiver, riding on which the Congress had last year wrested power from the BJP in the state after 15 years.

Modi and Shah claimed the Congress had cheated farmers, and instead of writing off their loans as it promised ahead of the Assembly polls last year, the Kamal Nath government was issuing debt recovery notices.

In contrast, Congress chief Gandhi has maintained that his party had waived loans within 48 hours of coming to power, going on to claim that even former chief minister and senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan's kin got loan waivers.

This will be the third phase of polling in Madhya Pradesh, with the first and second phases having been held on April 29 and May 6. The last phase will be held on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.

In the 2014 national elections, the BJP had won 27 of the 29 Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh. However, the Congress had later won the Ratlam seat in a bypoll, taking its tally to three in the state.

The Congress, which wrested power from the BJP in Madhya Pradesh last year after a gap of 15 years, is optimistic of putting up a good show.

The BJP, on its part, is equally upbeat claiming that a "strong Modi wave" would help it put up a stellar performance like 2014.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, his Chhattisgarh counterpart and Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel, Union ministers Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani also addressed rallies in the state ahead of the third phase of polling.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, May 11 2019. 19:46 IST