BHOPAL: The by-elections for the two key assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh has concluded with Mungaoli witnessing 77.45 per cent voter turnout while Kolaras recording 72.82 per cent.
The bypolls in these two seats has become a battle of prestige between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) BJP and the main opposition party Congress.
The voting which had started at 8 am, continued till 5 pm. The results will be declared on February 28.
The outcome of the bypolls will provide an opportunity to gauge the mood of the state that will elect a new assembly later this year.
Both the Mungaoli and Kolaras seats are currently held by the Congress and fall within the Guna Lok Sabha constituency, represented by Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia.
The bypolls were necessitated by the death of sitting Congress legislators.
The two seats have been Congress strongholds for long, so it holds more significance for the party, which is looking to recapture power after 15 years.
Last year, despite putting up a fierce contest, the BJP could not win the Ater and Chitrakoot assembly seats held by the Congress. This time, it has put up another spirited fight to make a dent in the Scindia citadel and score an important personality battle.
The Congress has fielded Mahendra Singh Yadav and Brajendra Singh Yadav from Kolaras and Mungaoli seats respectively.
The BJP nominees are Devendra Jain from Kolaras and Baisaab Yadav from Mungaoli.
In the 2013 assembly elections too Jain had contested from the BJP against the Congress nominee, the late Ram Singh Yadav, who won by nearly 25,000 votes.
In Mungaoli, Congress candidate late Mahendra Singh Kalukhede had defeated his BJP rival Rao Deshraj Singh by nearly 21,000 votes in 2013.
Both Chouhan and Scindia have led hectic campaigns for their parties in these bypolls. Earlier this month, Chouhan announced a few sops for farmers to blunt the Congress criticism over farm unrest.
In a first, the BJP also deployed Yashodhara Raje Scindia, minister for sports and youth welfare in the Shivraj cabinet, and Jyotiraditya’s aunt, to the campaign, in a departure from the Scindia dynasty’s tradition of not directly campaigning against each other. The campaiging for the bypolls had concluded on Thursday.