The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are in a close fight in Madhya Pradesh with both parties hovering around the half-way mark. So close is the contest that both the BJP and the Congress have taken turns to recah the half-way mark in the state on different intervals. Counting for postal ballots began at 8 am while the counting of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) began at 8:30 am.
Exit polls had also predicted a close race between the BJP and the Congress. However, leaders from both parties have routinely claimed their respective victories. Calling himself the "biggest surveyor", incumbent Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has claimed a win for the BJP while senior Congress leader Kamal Nath asserted that his party would get at least 140 seats and oust the saffron party.
While Shivraj is BJP's CM 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 campaign for the polls was a high-decibel one with star campaigners like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi mounting vitriolic attacks in their respective speeches. The prime minister had addressed ten public meetings across all regions of the state while BJP president Amit Shah held 26 public meetings and three road shows.
Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, addressed 22 public rallies and took part in about a dozen road shows. State unit Congress president Kamal Nath addressed over 60 public meetings while Jyotiraditya Scindia addressed 110 public meetings and participated in 12 road shows in 15 days preceding polling.