Counting of votes got under way Tuesday morning for bypolls held for 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh, and the results will be an indicator of the effect of the Jyotiraditya Scindia factor in the changed political scenario in the state.
The counting began from 8 am in 19 districts where the by-elections were held on November 3, an election official said.
The ruling BJP needs to win at least eight of these 28 seats to attain a simple majority in the 230-member Assembly, whose effective strength is 229.
The BJP currently has 107 MLAs, while the Congress has 87 legislators in the House.
The bypoll results are also crucial for former chief minister Kamal Nath, who lost power in the state seven months ago when a section of Congress MLAs revolted against him after Scindia quit the party and joined the BJP.
The Election Commission's guidelines on Covid-19 are in place so that counting agents do not assemble in large numbers at the counting centres, the official said.
A candidate, his poll agent and counting agent can remain present in the counting hall, as per the EC's instructions.
"Results can be displayed from the control unit on a big screen as per the EC's directives," the official said.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of 70.27 per cent voter turnout was recorded during the bypolls which were contested by 355 candidates, including 12 ministers.
The average voting percentage in the 2018 Assembly polls in these 28 seats, most of them in the Gwalior-Chambal region, was 72.93 per cent, the official said.
For the first time in Madhya Pradesh, bypolls were held in as many as 28 Assembly seats in one go.
Bypolls to 25 of these seats were necessitated as the sitting Congress MLAs quit and joined the BJP and contested the bypolls as BJP candidates.
In the remaining three Assembly segments, bypolls were held due to deaths of the sitting legislators. One more Congress MLA resigned recently.