New Delhi, December 2
The results of the Assembly elections in four of the five states that went to the polls last month will be announced tomorrow and would set the stage for the next Lok Sabha elections, scheduled to be conducted in the first half of 2024.
The counting of votes in all the five states—Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram—was earlier slated for December 3, but the Election Commission later deferred the process in Mizoram by a day to December 4. The deferment was in view of the religious sentiments of the Mizo community, mostly Christians who treat Sunday (December 3) as the day of Sabbath.
In Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, it’s a straight fight between the Congress and the BJP. If either of the two parties manages to win in all three states, it will give the victor a big boost before the Lok Sabha elections. In Rajasthan, the Congress fears poaching of its MLAs by the BJP and has asked its Karnataka strongman and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar to make preparations for shifting the victorious legislators to his home state, if need be.
A similar strategy has been put in place by the Congress for Telangana, where the state’s ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and the grand old party are said to be heading for a photo-finish. Shivakumar has also been asked to remain prepared for additional requirement to house MLAs from Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh too. Shivakumar told mediapersons in Bengaluru that while he was certain that the Congress would handsomely win in all four states offering no scope to the BJP to poach Congress MLAs, he was doing whatever was being asked of him by the party high command.
In Mizoram, exit polls have suggested a sweep by the Zoram People’s Movement, trouncing the state’s ruling Mizo National Front.
The BJP gave tickets to 18 MPs, including three central ministers, in three states. Narendra Singh Tomar, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Prahlad Singh Patel have been fielded from Madhya Pradesh, while Renuka Singh is contesting from Bharatpur-Sonhat in Chhattisgarh.
Besides former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, MPs Diya Kumari, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Narendra Kumar and Devji Patel have been fielded in Rajasthan. Senior BJP leaders Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Narottam Mishra and Kailash Vijayvargiya have entered the fray in Madhya Pradesh.
From the Congress, Kamal Nath in Madhya Pradesh and Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot are the key candidates in Rajasthan, while Bhupesh Baghel and TS Singh Deo are the prominent faces in Chhattisgarh. The BJP has fielded former CM Raman Singh too in Chhattisgarh.
In Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, KT Rama Rao, Mohammad Azharuddin and Akbaruddin Owaisi are big names in the fray.
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