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Counting of votes for MP, Rajasthan, C'garh polls begins

ANI | Updated: Dec 11, 2018 08:11 IST

Bhopal/Jaipur/Raipur [India], Dec 11 (ANI): The counting of votes polled in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh Assembly elections has begun.
Much is at stake for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is ruling in these three states and wants to retain them, at least, amidst the hopes of the Congress to dislodge the party.
The BJP has been in power in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for the last 15 years and has been ruling Rajasthan for the last five years.
In Madhya Pradesh which went to polls on November 28, as many as 2,899 candidates were in the fray including 250 women and five third gender candidates. The state saw a voter turnout of around 75 per cent.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Madhya Pradesh VL Kantha Rao informed that counting will take place on an average in 22 rounds in each centre.
In order to ensure transparency, he said that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which did not give clear results due to malfunctioning during mock polls, will be taken out in the last round and the results will be tallied with the voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips.
Madhya Pradesh witnessed a high decibel campaign for the poll, which has remained a direct battle of ballots between the ruling BJP and the Congress party. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is eyeing a fourth term in the state, while the Congress is expecting a comeback after the party lost the polls to the BJP in 2003.
The BJP had won 166 seats in 2013 Assembly polls, while the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had bagged 58 and four seats respectively.
Shifting to Rajasthan, that went to polls on December 7, a total of 2, 274 candidates were in the fray for 199 Assembly seats out of the 200 with a major battle in the show between the BJP and the Congress. Polling in the Alwar constituency was countermanded following the death of a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate. The desert state recorded a voter turnout of over 74 per cent.
The fight is to win a target of at least 101 seats to achieve majority mark in the intense polling between the two national parties. In 2013 Assembly elections, BJP won the mandate with 163 seats while Congress got only to 21 seats.
Vasundhara Raje, the state's incumbent chief minister, is facing a tough fight from the Congress which has not left out any moment to tear into the state government over its various initiatives.
Congress has kept its card close to the heart as far as the chief ministerial candidate is concerned despite Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are reportedly considered the main contenders.
Interestingly, the people of Rajasthan have not voted back a government for the second time between 1998 and 2013, with the BJP and Congress ruling the state alternatively.
In Chhattisgarh, that went to polls in a two-phase-on November 12 and November 20, Chief Minister Raman Singh is contesting the elections hoping to retain his position for the fourth consecutive term.
The Congress, which was voted out of power in 2003, is seeking to spring a surprise and eyeing a comeback in the state with a victory in the crucial Assembly polls.
The state recorded a voter turnout of about 76 per cent, according to the Election Commission.
In the 2013 assembly elections, the BJP had bagged 49 seats, Congress got 39, BSP and Independent got one seat each in the 90-member Assembly.
Tight security arrangements are in place around the polling booths to ensure that no untoward incident takes place during the counting process.
Going by a number of exit polls, it appears that BJP may not have a smooth sailing in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. If the Congress actually manages to defeat the BJP in these three states, it will give a boost to the opposition camp ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due next year.
However, if the BJP retains power in these states, it will further underline the dominance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In Rajasthan, three exit polls have predicted a clear edge for the Congress, making the Opposition party upbeat. While Times Now-CNX gave Congress 105 seats and 85 to BJP; India Today-Axis My India predicted 119 to 141 for the Congress and 55-72 for the BJP.
Today's Chanakya too forecast about 123 seats for the Congress, with a plus-minus of 12. It predicted 68 seats for the BJP, again with a plus-minus of 12 and gave eight to others. On the other hand, the Republic-C Voter poll gave Congress 81-101 and 83-103 to the BJP.
For Madhya Pradesh, Times Now-CNX predicted that the ruling BJP would be back in power with 126 seats in the 230-member Assembly while the Congress is expected to get 89, which is 27 short the majority figure.
India Today-Axis My India predicted 104-122 for Congress and 102-126 for the BJP. Republic TV-Jan ki Baat poll predicted 95-115 for Congress and 108-128 for BJP. India News MP-Neta predicted 112 seats for Congress and 106 for BJP.
However, Today's Chanakya has stuck out its neck to say that the Congress would have it easy with 125 seats (plus-minus 12 seats) while the BJP is expected to get about 103 (plus-minus 12).
Similarly, in Chhattisgarh, Times Now-CNX predicted BJP would retain power with 46 seats, which is a majority mark and predicted 35 seats for the Congress while giving seven to the BSP and its ally. India TV predicted 42-50 seats for the BJP, 32-38 for the Congress, 6-8 for BSP and 1-3 for others.
However, Republic-C Voter predicted 40-50 seats for the Congress and 35-43 for BJP. It gave 3-7 to BSP and ally. News Nation poll suggested 40-44 for the Congress and 38-42 for the BJP. It gave 4-8 to BSP and 0-4 to others. News 24-Pace Media predicted 45-51 seats for the Congress, 36-42 for the BJP and 4-8 for others.
Today's Chanakya predicted a whopping 50 for the Congress (plus minus 8) and 36 for the BJP (plus minus 8) while giving four to others including BSP. (ANI)