(Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)
(Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)

Bhopal: Campaigning for the last leg of Lok Sabha polls came to an end on Friday evening. Eight constituencies of the Malwa Nimar region will go to polls on May 19 where more than 1.42 crore voters will exercise their franchise to choose their representatives from 82 candidates. Dewas and Ujjain are reserved seats for SCs while Ratlam, Dhar and Khargone are reserved for STs while Indore, Mandsaur and Khandwa are general seats. Over 170 inter-state and inter-district borders of all these constituencies have been sealed. Non-voters, party workers from outside constituencies have been asked to leave. All liquor shops will remain closed till polling ends.

Over 55,000 personnel from 83 companies of central armed forces, 49 companies from state and 18,000 special police officers (SPO) have been deployed to ensure free and fair elections in these seats. In all 264 booths have been placed under vulnerable category out of 18,411 polling booths. More than 40,000 volunteers will be deployed to facilitate voting on the polling day. Former Union ministers Kantilal Bhuria, Arun Yadav are in the fray from Ratlam and Khandwa, the latter seeing a tough fight between Yadav and ex-MP BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan. Meenakshi Natarajan, once a lieutenant of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, is trying her luck again from Mandsaur, after being defeated in 2014.

At the centre of the campaigning has been the Congress-led government’s farm loan waiver scheme, which has been debunked by the opposition BJP in the state. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised the issue at his rallies and said the Kamal Nath government in MP was sending police and recovery notices to farmers rather than writing off their loans.

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Free Press Journal