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Madhya Pradesh in Hindi can be translated to Central Province, and it is located in the geographic heart of India. The state straddles the Narmada River, which runs east and west between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges; these ranges and the Narmada are the traditional boundary between the north and south of India. The state is bordered on the west by Gujarat, on the northwest by Rajasthan, on the northeast by Uttar Pradesh, on the east by Chhattisgarh, and on the south by Maharashtra.
Government and politics
The constitutional head of the state is the governor, appointed by the President of India. The current governor is Ram Naresh Yadav.
Madhya Pradesh has a 230-seat state Legislative Assembly. The state also sends 40 members to the Parliament of India: 29 are elected to the Lok Sabha (Lower House) and 11 to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House).
The dominant political parties in the state are the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress. Unlike many of its neighbours, Madhya Pradesh has largely a two-party system with small or regional parties not having had much success in recent elections.
In the November 2008 state elections, the BJP won an absolute majority of 143 seats, defeating Congress who won just 71 seats. Other parties in the state legislature include the Bahujan Samaj Party with seven seats.
The current chief minister is Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who succeeded Babulal Gaur and Uma Bharti. Before the BJP won in 2003, the longtime Congress Chief Minister was Digvijay Singh. In the 2004 General Election the BJP swept the state by winning 25 of the 29 seats, while the Congress won the remaining four.