Madhya Pradesh, which has been a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) bastion, is set to witness a neck-and-neck battle. While most exit polls have predicted a close contest between the BJP and the Congress, some have suggested that the Congress may succeed in toppling the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in the state. Counting for the 230-member Assembly will begin at 8 am on Tuesday. The results will be declared on eciresults.nic.in.
Incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has exuded confidence of winning the state for the BJP again. If BJP wins the state, Shivraj is likely to become the CM for the fourth successive term. He has been in office since 2005. He himself is seeking re-election from Budhni seat in Sehore district where he is pitted against Congress candidate and former minister Arun Yadav.
While Shivraj Singh Chouhan is BJP's chief ministerial candidate, the Congress has not declared its chief ministerial candidate. It has maintained that the party will take the decision after results of the elections are declared. However, party veterans Kamal Nath and Jyotiraditya Scindia are being seen as strong contenders for the top post if Congress wins the state.
The counting of votes will begin at 8 am on Tuesday and postal ballots will be taken up first followed by electronic voting machines at 8:30 am. The election for the 230-member assembly was held on November 28 and as many as 2,899 candidates are in the fray.
The BJP has fielded candidates on all seats and the Congress on 229 as it left one seat for Sharad Yadav's Loktantrik Janata Dal. The BSP put up 227 candidates while the SP 51. The Aam Aadmi Party, contesting the state election for the first time, fielded candidates on 208 seats. Also testing their electoral fortunes are 1,094 Independent candidates.