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|November 24, 1998||
Narrow margins were the norm in many MP constituencies
A positive or adverse swing between 1 and 2.5 per cent would make or mar the electoral prospects of the candidates of the two main contending parties -- the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party -- in almost half of the 320 assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh.
Like in the 1993 elections, there is no wave in favour of any party this time and the personal image of candidates and local issues dominate the poll scene.
A close analysis of the last assembly election, which recorded about 60 per cent polling, indicates that 87 seats were decided by a swing below 1.5 per cent. This is considered significant in view of the nail-biting finish expected in most of the constituencies in tomorrow's election in the state.
The victory margin in more than 140 constituencies was below 5,000 votes, with the margin of the winner below 3,000 votes for 87 seats and less than 1,000 for 28 seats.
The Congress won 174 of the 320 seats, 51 of them with a margin of below 3,000, while it lost 32 seats to the BJP with the same swing against it.
The BJP, with a final tally of 117 seats, bagged 16 seats with a margin of less than 1,000 votes. The party won 10 seats and the Congress four seats with a margin of below 500 votes.
While the Congress fared badly in the 1996 and 1998 Lok Sabha elections, it did well in the assembly bypolls and panchayat elections held during the past five years.
This time, the prospects of the Congress in the assembly election mainly depends on the extent of division of its votes in view of the presence of party rebels contesting as independents and candidates of the newly-floated Ajay Bharat Party in many constituencies, and the strength of the BSP and other non-BJP parties.
While the Congress is expected to improve its performance in Madhya Bharat, it faces a stiff challenge in Chhattisgarh region.
Mahakaushal and Vindhyanchal regions are likely to provide mixed results for the two parties.
During the BJP wave in the 1990 assembly polls, which recorded 54 per cent voter turnout, more than 100 candidates had won by a margin of less than 5,000 votes.
In the 1990 elections, as many as 220 of the 269 BJP candidates had emerged victorious, while the Congress could win only 56 seats. About a dozen candidates won by a margin of less than 500 votes and 55 with a margin of less than 3,000.
The margin of victory was less than 5,000 in 40 constituencies in Chhattisgarh, 25 constituencies in Mahakaushal region, 12 in Vindhya region and half a dozen in Gwalior Chambal division
In the 1993 assembly polls, the margin of victory was less than 5,000 in about 100 constituencies in Chhattisgarh, Mahakaushal and Madhya Bharat regions, 25 in Chambal and Bundelkhand regions and 15 in Vindhya region.
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