MP Elections 2023: Key Contests To Watch Out For As BJP, Congress Lock Horns

New Delhi: The voters of Madhya Pradesh will decide the fate of the BJP and the Congress in the crucial assembly election today. The two parties are engaged in a fierce battle for power in the state, where many prominent leaders are in the fray. The BJP has fielded its chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Budhni, where he faces actor Vikram Mastal, who played ‘Hanuman’ in a TV serial, as the Congress candidate.

The Congress has its state chief Kamal Nath contesting from Chhindwara, his home turf, against the BJP’s Vivek Bunty Sahu, whom he had defeated in a by-election in 2019. Kamal Nath’s government had fallen in March 2020 after a revolt by Jyotiraditya Scindia, who joined the BJP.

The polling will take place for all 230 seats in the state from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with some exceptions in Balaghat, Mandla and Dindori districts where it will end at 3 p.m. The BJP has not announced any chief ministerial candidate, relying on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the collective leadership of the party. The Congress, on the other hand, has projected Kamal Nath as its face for the top post.

Some of the key constituencies that will witness interesting contests are:

Raghogarh: Digvijaya Singh’s son Jaivardhan Singh is fighting to retain his ‘family’ bastion from the BJP’s Hirendra Singh, alias Bunty Banna, who is the son of Digvijaya Singh’s cousin. Bunty Banna was persuaded by Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is now the Union Civil Aviation Minister, to join the BJP camp.

Indore-1: BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, a former Indore mayor and a party heavyweight, is pitted against Congress’ Sanjay Shukla, who had won the seat in 2018. The constituency had traditionally been a BJP stronghold.

Narsingpur: Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, another BJP heavyweight, has replaced his brother, Jalam Singh Patel, who had won the seat twice. The Congress has fielded Lakhan Singh Patel, who had lost to Jalam Singh Patel in 2018. The constituency is dominated by the Patel community, which is a key factor in this election.

Datia: Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra is seeking re-election from the seat. He is up against Congress’ Avdhesh Nayak, a former RSS functionary. Mishra, a two-time MLA from the BJP, had won the seat in 2018 with a huge margin.

Lahar: The BJP has fielded Ambrish Sharma to challenge Congress’ Govind Singh, who has won the seat seven times in a row. The BJP wants to break the Congress stronghold in this constituency.