Bhopal/Indore: A total of 82 candidates, including two former Union ministers, are in the fray for the last phase of Lok Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh where voting will be held for eight seats on Sunday. All these constituencies- Dewas, Ujjain, Mandsaur, Ratlam, Dhar, Indore, Khargone and Khandwa– are currently held by the BJP. Over 1.49 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise.

Prominent candidates in the fray are former Union ministers Kantilal Bhuria and Arun Yadav of Congress, who are contesting from Ratlam and Khandwa seats, respectively. Yadav is pitted against former MP BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan. Of the total eight seats, the BJP has renominated only Chauhan and Sudhir Gupta from Khandwa and Mandsaur, respectively.

Gupta is squaring off against Meenakshi Natarajan, once a confidante of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, from Mandsaur, which had remained a nerve centre of farmers’ protests. The high-pitched campaign for the last phase resolved mainly around the loan waiver scheme of the state Congress government, which came to power in December last year.

The opposition BJP claims that the scheme remains only on paper. During his rallies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had claimed that Kamal Nath government was sending police personnel as well as recovery notices to farmers rather than writing off their loans.