BJP leads in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, while Congress holds the edge in Telangana and Chhattisgarh.

Vote counting has commenced for three crucial heartland states and a significant southern state, considered a key indicator for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Early trends, derived from the counting of postal ballots, reveal BJP leading in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, with the latter surpassing the halfway mark. Meanwhile, the Congress is ahead in Telangana and appears poised to retain Chhattisgarh, crossing the halfway mark in both states.

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Exit polls predict BJP retaining Madhya Pradesh and reclaiming Rajasthan, while Congress is projected to secure a second consecutive term in Chhattisgarh and win Telangana, signaling a substantial boost in the southern region. However, the accuracy of exit polls remains uncertain.

Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are particularly suspenseful contests, with Telangana also showing promise, challenging the exit poll predictions of a Congress victory in a state long governed by K Chandrashekar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi.

Madhya Pradesh’s 230 seats represent a prestige battle between Congress and BJP, especially considering the collapse of the Kamal Nath-led government in 2020. Jyotiraditya Scindia’s influence over the Gwalior-Chambal belt is an additional subplot, even though he is not directly contesting.

A BJP victory in Madhya Pradesh could significantly elevate the political standing of four-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, despite not being officially projected as the Chief Ministerial candidate. Speculation surrounds the potential impact on his political career.

In Telangana, historically loyal to BRS since 2014, the election unfolded amidst anti-incumbency sentiments and controversy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim that K Chandrashekar Rao sought to join the NDA. The Congress capitalized on these issues, alleging collaboration between BRS and BJP.

Chhattisgarh, with 90 seats, appears as a potential comfort zone for the Congress, relying on Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s track record in rebuilding the party post the 2013 Jhiram Ghati Maoist attack.

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