Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress are targeting the magic figure of 116 seats out of 230 in assembly polls to form the government but there are certain seats where prestige of leaders of both the parties are at stake. There are ten seats across the state which have become prestige points for the BJP and the Congress. All eyes are set on the outcome of elections on these seats as these would also decide the fate of the leaders contesting from these seats.
Congress has fielded its former state president Arun Yadav to contest against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh from Budhni assembly seat of Sehore district. Chouhan is contesting from this seat for fifth time. Though Congress tried to grill him by fielding Yadav against him but it could not succeed. Despite Yadav being his opponent, Chouhan did not go for campaigning in his constituency. Chouhan won the previous assembly election from this seat when Congress had fielded Mahendra Singh Chouhan with a margin of 84,805 votes.
Bharatiya Janata Party has given ticket to youth leader Sardendu Tiwari against Ajay Singh, who is leader of opposition. Singh defeated Tiwari in the previous elections too. Singh has been winning from this seat for the past six times. It is his traditional seat and BJP could not give him a strong resistance. This time too, Singh appears to be in dominating position. He is amongst the top leaders of Congress contesting elections. Singh won the previous elections by a margin of 19,356 votes.
Congress’ top leader Suresh Pachauri is contesting from this seat against tourism minister Surendra Patwa from this seat in Raisen district. Pachauri, has worked as Congress state president and a Union minister. Pachauri lost the previous assembly elections against Patwa. This is his second time against Patwa. Patwa is contesting his first election after the death of former Chief Minister Sunderlal Patwa. The outcome of assembly elections would play a key role in Patwa’s political career. Patwa defeated Pachauri in previous assembly polls by a margin of 20,149 votes.
The contest on this seat is between Assembly speaker Sitasharan Sharma and former minister Sartaj Singh, who recently quit BJP and joined Congress. Sartaj, as he had said, is contesting last elections of his political career. Singh, an octogenarian, is known to be Guru of Sharma in politics. The fight is between Guru and disciple. All eyes are set on the outcome of the assembly polls from this seat. Top leaders in both the parties have campaigned for Singh and Sharma. Sharma won the previous assembly elections against Ravi Kishore Jayaswal by a margin of 49,296 votes.
Congress has given ticket to Arunodaya Chaubey against home minister Bhupendra Singh from this seat that comes under Sagar district. Singh is known to be very influential leader. There is a tough contest between Chaubey and Singh. Congress too has made winning this seat as its prestige point. Most of the BJP leaders have campaigned in support of Singh. Singh is known to be quite resourceful in BJP ministers. People are anxiously waiting for the outcome of this seat. Singh won against Choubey in the previous assembly elections by a margin of 6084 votes.
Congress has fielded Abhay Mishra against Industries minister and Congress candidate Rajendra Shukla from Rewa seat. Mishra had quit BJP and joined Congress. Mishra in 2008 and his wife Neelam Mishra won in 2013 from Semaria seat in Rewa district as BJP candidates. It is said that Mishra and Shukla have political rivalry and personal disputes with each other. Mishra had held Shukla responsible for his quitting the BJP. Shukla has been winning this seat for past three times but this time he is facing tough contest. Shukla won the previous assembly elections against Krishnakumar of Bahujan Samaj Party by 37,546 votes.
BJP has given ticket to finance minister Jayant Mallaiya from Damoh assembly seat. Congress has fielded Rahul Singh Lodhi against Mallaiya. Former agriculture minister Ramkrishna Kusumaria has also jumped into the fray as a rebel. Kusumaria is contesting from Damoh and Patharia as independent candidate. The entry of Kusumaria has disturbed the poll equations on this seat. Mallaiya won the previous elections against Chandrabhan Singh of Congress by 4953 votes.
Morena MP Anup Mishra is contesting elections from Bhitarwar seat of Gwalior district. Mishra is fighting against Congress MLA Lakhan Singh Yadav. Mishra is nephew of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. As Mishra is related to Vajpayee, all eyes are set on this seat. The elections on this seat have been linked to emotional attachment with Vajpayee, who passed away in the recent past. Yadav defeated Mishra in previously elections by 6548 votes.
The seat of Varaseoni in Balaghat district has come into limelight with Congress giving ticket to Sanjay Singh, who is brother-in-law of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Singh joined Congress when he could not get ticket from the BJP. Sanjay is having BJP MLA Yogendra Nirmal as his opponent on this seat. Chouhan is also focusing on victory of BJP candidate. Former MLA Pradeep Jaiswal, who turned rebel from Congress over giving ticket to Sanjay, is also in the fray. As the issue is related to family of Chouhan, all eyes are set on the result of this seat. Nirmal defeated Congress’ Pradeep Jaiswal in previous elections by 17,938 votes.
Bharatiya Janata Party has given ticket to Krishna Gaur, who is daughter-in-law of former Chief Minister Babulal Gaur from Govindpura seat of Bhopal. Earlier, Gaur had been MLA from this seat for ten times. The decision on giving ticket on this seat took place late. Gaur, on not getting ticket, had threatened to fight elections as independent candidate. Congress has given ticket to youth leader Girish Sharma. The outcome of this seat is anxiously awaited as Babulal Gaur would not be contesting for the first time. Gaur defeated Congress’ Govind Goyal in the previous elections by 70344 votes.