Madhya Pradesh: Curtains come down on electioneering for third phase of LS polls in 9 seats

Campaigning for the third phase of Lok Sabha polls for nine seats in Madhya Pradesh, which will decide the political future of three bigwigs- Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Digvijaya Singh, ended on Sunday evening.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Minister and BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia during a public meeting for Lok Sabha elections, in Morena, Madhya Pradesh, Thursday, April 25, 2024.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Minister and BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia during a public meeting for Lok Sabha elections, in Morena, Madhya Pradesh, Thursday, April 25, 2024.

Bhopal | Campaigning for the third phase of Lok Sabha polls for nine seats in Madhya Pradesh, which will decide the political future of three bigwigs- Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, and Digvijaya Singh, ended on Sunday evening.

More than 1.77 crore voters will decide the fate of 127 candidates in the fray amid intense campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah from the BJP, and Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from Congress.

The constituencies which will vote on Tuesday include Morena, Bhind (SC-reserved), Gwalior, Guna, Sagar, Vidisha, Bhopal, Rajgarh and Betul (ST-reserved) constituencies.

Voting for the third phase will be held from 7 am to 6 pm across 20,456 polling stations, an official said.

At stake is the political future of BJP leader and Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, seeking to reclaim the home turf Guna which he lost in 2019 when he was in Congress.

BJP veteran and former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is contesting from Vidisha constituency, a saffron fortress which he had represented multiple times in Lok Sabha in the past, after almost 17 years, facing Congress candidate Pratap Bhanu Sharma.

In Rajgarh, Congress veteran and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh, 77, seeks to reclaim the lost legacy, marking his return to the Lok Sabha electoral contest after more than 30 years. His challenger is two-time BJP MP Rodmal Nagar.

The BJP is hoping for a clean sweep in Madhya Pradesh, which sends 29 members to Lok Sabha.

In 2019, the BJP missed whitewashing Congress by a whisker in Chhindwara constituency, the only saving grace for Congress which managed to retain it on the charisma of party veteran Kamal Nath. His son Nakul Nath won the seat last time.

PM Modi and Shah led the high-voltage campaign for BJP wherein they targeted Congress over multiple issues, ranging from quotas to tackling terrorism, and inheritance tax.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra set the poll narrative around social justice and raised issues such as unemployment, injustice to farmers, and alleged favourable treatment to select businessmen to target the PM.

Modi also led a roadshow in Bhopal on April 24.

He targeted Congress over wealth redistribution and inheritance tax issues as Rahul Gandhi reiterated Congress' commitment to conduct a caste census and economic survey if voted to power.

In high-stake Guna, where votes of the Yadav community can tilt scales, Scindia is facing Yadvendra Singh Yadav of Congress.

In 2019, Scindia, who was then the Congress candidate, lost the Scindia family bastion to BJP's KP Yadav.

The scion of the erstwhile royal family of Gwalior, Scindia quit the Congress in 2020 and joined the BJP.

Chouhan looks comfortably placed in Vidisha but the contest in Rajgarh may be a close one.

Digvijaya Singh won from Rajgarh in 1984 and 1991 but lost in 1989. He became the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh in 1993.

Union minister Rajnath Singh, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, BJP president J P Nadda, and MP CM Mohan Yadav, among others, addressed rallies to drum up support for the party candidates.

For the Congress, former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and ex-Union minister Sachin Pilot addressed public meetings.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati also addressed a rally in Morena to cobble up support for her party candidates in the Gwalior and Chambal region.

At a rally held in Morena, Modi had claimed that then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi abolished the inheritance tax apparently to save the money, which he was supposed to get after Indira Gandhi's death, from going to the government.

In an emotional reply, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit back at the PM, saying her father inherited "martyrdom" and not wealth from Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated.

Of the total 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh, polling for 12 seats concluded in two phases on April 19 and 26.

The remaining eight seats will go to polls in the fourth phase on May 13.

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