BHOPAL: The high-voltage campaign for crucial by-elections to Mungaoli and Kolaras Assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh ended today, with top leaders from the BJP and the Congress taking part.
The by-polls, scheduled for February 24, were necessitated due to the death of Congress MLAs Mahendra Singh Kalukheda (Mungaoli) and Ram Singh Yadav (Kolaras).
The Congress's chief whip in the Lok Sabha, Jyotiraditya Scindia, former Union ministers and senior party leaders Kamal Nath, Kantilal Bhuria, Suresh Pachouri, and MP Congress chief Arun Yadav hit the campaign trail for the opposition party.
For the BJP, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, his cabinet colleagues, and Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar were among the prominent campaigners.
The Congress has fielded Mahendra Singh Yadav from Kolaras and Brijendra Singh Yadav from Mungaoli, while the BJP has fielded Baisahab Yadav from Mungaoli and Devendra Jain from Kolaras.
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.
Both seats are in the Guna Lok Sabha constituency, represented by Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Addressing a series of public meetings and conducting road-shows on the last day of the campaigning, Chouhan appealed people to vote for the development of the area.
"You have given 15 years to the Congress MP from here but the area continues to move backward. Give us just five months and if we don't deliver, don't give a second chance during the assembly elections which will taken place by year-end," he said.
Speaking at a public meeting at Mungaoli, Scindia said, "These two by-polls, scheduled for February 24, will change the future of Madhya Pradesh. Don't consider it as a (mere) semi-final, but consider it the final. If it was not the final, then the entire cabinet wouldn't have camped here for the last four-five months."
Scindia, who addressed 75 public meetings and 20 road shows in the two constituencies, further said, "He (Chouhan) is talking about making Mungaoli a smart city.How will a person, who has not yet turned his home-turf of Vidisha and Budhni into smart cities, do it?"
Addressing the meeting, Kamal Nath said, "I am surprised that the state cabinet members were coming here for the last five months and making announcements despite being in power for the last 13-14 years.
"This is not the time to make announcements but to give you the scorecard. People here wanted to know what you have done for them," Nath said.
The high-pitched campaign also saw the Congress complaining to the Election Commission against discrepancies in voter lists, and also against state sports minister (and Jyotiraditya Scindia's aunt) Yashodhara Raje Scindia for allegedly threatening people that if they didn't vote for the BJP, they wouldn't get benefit of the welfare schemes.
The EC issued a show-cause notice to her and transferred the Ashoknagar district collector.
Yashodhara Raje denied the allegations in her reply to the Commission.
Counting of votes will take place on February 28.