Bhopal: Polling began at 7 a.m in three constituencies of Maoist-affected Balaghat district in Madhya Pradesh amid tight security, while in the remaining 227 of the 230 Assembly seats polling will begin at 8 a.m. The polling will end in the three constituencies — Baihar, Lanji and Paraswada — at 3 p.m, while it will continue till 5 p.m in all the other constituencies.
The contest is mainly between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress, though the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) are also in the fray. Among the 2,907 candidates in Madhya Pradesh, 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 is contesting in 51 seats. There are 1,102 Independent candidates. In the last polls, of the 230 seats, the BJP won 165, Congress 58, BSP four and Independents three. Over five crore registered voters in Madhya Pradesh — 2,63,01,300 men, 2,41,30,390 women and 1,389 of the third gender — will decide the fate of candidates.