The counting of votes for the Mungaoli and Kolaras Assembly bypolls in Madhya Pradesh will be held today amid tight security. The counting of votes will start at 8 AM, an Election Commission official said.Security has been stepped up at the two counting centres, the official said.The voting for the two seats took place on February 24. While Mungaoli recorded a voters’ turnout of 77.05%, 70.4% of voters exercised their franchise in Kolaras.At both the seats, there is a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP.13 candidates including the Congress’ Brijendra Singh Yadav, BJP’s Bai Sahib are in the fray in Mungaoli while 22 candidates including Congress’ Mahendra Singh Yadav and BJP’s Devendra Jain are contesting in Kolaras. Jain had won Kolaras in 2008. However, Congress’ Ram Singh Yadav snatched the seat from the BJP in 2013 polls. The bypolls were necessitated due to the death of Congress’s Mungaoli MLA Mahendra Singh Kalukheda and its Kolaras MLA Ram Singh Yadav.Both seats are in the Guna Lok Sabha constituency, represented by Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia. The outcome of the two by-elections would be watched keenly as a possible pointer to people’s mood ahead of the Assembly elections in the BJP-ruled state, due later this year.While BJP’s campaign was led by state Sports and Youth Welfare Minister Yashodhara Raje, who sought votes in Kolaras by invoking the legacy of her mother late Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia, a formidable BJP doyen, Jyotiraditya invoked his late father Madhavrao Scindia.Sanjay Sharma, a social worker based in Shivpuri-Gwalior who had witnessed elections in the area for the last four decades, said, “Normally, Scindia family members never campaign against each other and avoid face-to-face contest despite being in different parties”.However, this time it appeared and people felt that they were campaigning against each other in the name of their respective parties, he said.However, Jyotiraditya’s close aide and Congress spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi denied that it was a Scindia versus Scindia contest.”In fact, it is a contest between Jyotiraditya and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, as almost all senior ministers of his cabinet, including Yashodhara Raje, are campaigning in the bypoll whereas he (Jyotiraditya) is electioneering alone with the support of senior party leaders,” he said.(With PTI inputs)
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