Out of 230 members of the state assembly, 228 are expected to vote. One member died on Thursday in a road accident and another has been denied permission by the Supreme Court to vote.
One of the 228 MLAs — Congress leader Satyadev Katare who is also Leader of the Opposition in the assembly — has been allowed to take part in polling through postal ballot.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been in power in the state since December 2003, has fielded Anil Madhav Dave and M.J. Akbar as its candidates — both of them are expected to win considering that the party has the requisite number of MLAs.
For a candidate to succeed at least 58 MLAs will need to vote for him. The ruling party has 164 MLAs who can vote.
The BJP is also trying its luck by supporting its member Vinod Gotiya as an independent even though its short of the votes.
The Congress, which has 57 MLAs, has fielded Vivek Tankha who is also expected to win given that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) with four legislators has also pledged him support.
In an attempt to keep their MLAs from being influenced by the BJP, the Congress put up all its legislators in a hotel here on Friday night. They were all bussed to the assembly on Saturday morning for the voting.
There were murmurs as the four BSP MLAs did not turn up for voting until 11 a.m. All four finally came together and told the reporters that they were going to vote for the Congress candidate.
That is supposed to be a blow for Gotiya who told reporters that the Congress has employed corrupt means to ensure victory for Tankha.
State Higher Education Minister Uma Shankar Gupta took a potshot at the Congress’s protective shepherding of its MLAs, saying “those who don’t trust their own do what they are doing”.
The polling was scheduled to end at 4 p.m. and vote count is to start at 5 p.m.