Bhopal, Apr 22 UNI | 3 months ago

It is a transition from 'war drums' to 'fighting for every street and every home' as the din and bustle of campaigning died down at 1800 hrs today in ten parliamentary constituencies of Madhya Pradesh where candidates would now be able to go only from door to door.

Vidisha, Dewas, Ujjain, Mandsaur, Ratlam, Dhar, Indore, Khargone, Khandwa and Betul are scheduled to witness polling from 0700 to 1800 hrs on Thursday in the state's third and final phase that is to determine the fortunes of 118 nominees.

Dewas and Ujjain are reserved for Scheduled Castes whereas Ratlam, Dhar, Khargone and Betul are for Scheduled Tribes.

The maximum number of contestants is 22 in Indore. Corresponding figures are Mandsaur, Khandwa (both 14), Vidisha, Ujjain (both 12), Dewas (11), Ratlam (10), Khargone, Betul (both 8) and Dhar (7).

A by-election in Vidisha Assembly constituency, which fell vacant after Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan quit the seat, would also be conducted in this phase and 11 candidates are in the fray there.

The 1,69,53,358-strong electorate includes 81,71,514 members of the fairer sex. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress are in locked in combat in almost all the constituencies while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also made its presence felt.

Vidisha and Ratlam are the cynosures of all eyes as the Lok Sabha's outgoing Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj (BJP) is in the race for the former while ex-Union minister Kantilal Bhuria is vying for the latter.

Congress General Secretary and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh's sibling Laxman Singh is in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with Ms Swaraj while the saffron party's Dilip Singh Bhuria has set a collision course against Mr Kantilal Bhuria.

Among other bigwigs, Congress Parliamentarian Meenakshi Natarajan is trying to retain Mandsaur and is fighting against the BJP's Sudhir Gupta. Congress state chief Arun Yadav's prestige is at stake in Khandwa where he has to overcome twin challenges -- the BJP's ex-MP Nandkumar Singh Chouhan and Narmada Bachao Andolan
activist-turned-AAP leader Alok Agrawal.

During campaigning, the saffron party referred to the Centre's "anti-people" policies and enumerated the work done in BJP-ruled states while the Congress chiefly mentioned the Centre's achievements over the past decade and BJP regimes' "erroneous" policies.

The BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi thundered at meetings in Ratlam and Betul whereas Congress President Sonia Gandhi poured venom at a rally in Neemuch. The Chief Minister spoke at several rallies.

This heartland state boasts 29 Lok Sabha constituencies. Nine witnessed voting on April 10 and ten on April 17. A look at the 2009 results shows that the saffron party emerged victorious in 16 and the Congress in 12 constituencies while the Bahujan Samaj Party had to be content with a solitary seat.

(Posted on 22-04-2014)