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    Congress, BJP expect bypoll for 27 seats in Madhya Pradesh by early October

    Synopsis

    ​​More than 2,500 polling booths are likely to be set up for the polls, as per the Election Commission’s latest guidelines to limit the number of voters at each polling station to 1,000 instead of the usual 1,500 to ensure social distancing.

    New Delhi: The BJP and Congress in Madhya Pradesh are expecting the crucial by-polls to 27 seats to be held on time in late September or early October.

    The coronavirus situation is stable in Madhya Pradesh, though the Gwalior district has seen a recent spike in cases. A majority of the by-poll seats are located in the Gwalior-Chambal region.

    More than 2,500 polling booths are likely to be set up for the polls, as per the Election Commission’s latest guidelines to limit the number of voters at each polling station to 1,000 instead of the usual 1,500 to ensure social distancing. Collectors in the 18 districts where the 27 constituencies are located are said to have told the state election commission that they were ready for the elections.

    Twenty-five of these seats were held by the Congress, before the MLAs resigned and joined the BJP allowing it to capture power and necessitating the by-polls in those constituencies. To return to power, however, the Congress now needs to win all the 27 seats.

    “We have no objection to the by-polls being held on time. We are prepared for it. We had asked the EC though to conduct the by-polls through ballots given the coronavirus situation,” Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza told ET.

    The Congress has been reduced to 89 seats in the assembly after the 25 MLAs joined the BJP. “We are already in campaign mode with virtual rallies and videoconferences. We are hoping for early elections now with the EC issuing the guidelines for the same,” BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said. He said the BJP held only one of the 27 seats going to by-polls, but is confident of a clean sweep this time.

    The state has reported nearly 50,000 coronavirus cases with 1,171 deaths. Its test positivity rate is 5.4%. Nearly four-fifths of the infected people have recovered.
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