Amid tight security, polling began for the 40-member Mizoram assembly and the 230-seat Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections on Wednesday morning.
The exercise began at 7 am in Mizoram and the three Maoist-affected constituencies of Balaghat district in Madhya Pradesh. In the rest of the 227 seats in MP, the polling started at 8 am.
According to senior police officials, nearly 11,100 security personnel comprising central paramilitary and state security forces have been deployed in Mizoram to avoid any trouble during the polling.
Voting will continue till 4 pm in the Mizoram.
In MP, the polling will end in Baihar, Lanji and Paraswada at 3 pm and continue till 5 pm in all other constituencies.
In Mizoram, which is the ruling Congress party’s last bastion in the Northeast, many as 209 candidates, 15 of them women, are in the fray. Their fate will be decided by 768,181 voters, including 393,685 women.
The 40-member Mizoram Assembly has no women representative as all six candidates who had contested in 2013 lost.
Congress has been ruling the state for two terms now. It’s is direct contest with the main opposition, Mizo National Front (MNF). Both have fielded 40 candidates each.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is eyeing to open its account in Mizoram, has fielded 39 candidates.
Many regional and local parties have also fielded candidates in most of the 40 constituencies. They include People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM), Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) and Meghalaya-based National People’s Party (NPP).
Barring the 10 years from 1998 to 2008, the Congress has ruled Mizoram since it became a full-fledged state in 1987.
In MP, where the BJP has been ruling for three terms now, the contest is mainly between the saffron party and the Congress, though the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) are also in the fray.
There are 2,907 candidates in the fray in Madhya Pradesh, and the BJP has fielded candidates in all 230 seats, while the Congress is contesting in 229 seats leaving one seat, Jatara in Tikamgarh district, for Sharad Yadav-led Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD).
The BSP has fielded 227 candidates and the SP 51. There are 1,102 Independent candidates too in the fray.
In the last polls, BJP had won 165, Congress 58, BSP four and Independents three seats.
There are 5 crore registered voters in MP, and 2,63,01,300 of them are men, and 2,41,30,390 are women. There are 1,389 of the third gender.
The counting of votes for both states, along with three other poll-bound states of Rajasthan, Telangana and Chhattisgarh, will take place on December 11.
(With agency inputs)