Congress is Counting on Its Bypoll Wins in Last 2 Years to Script Success in MP Elections
The real morale booster for Congress came early this year when Jyotiraditya Scindia took on the entire state government led by CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and successfully defended Mungaoli and Kolaras seats.
Picture for representation. (Getty Images)
Bhopal: A peek into the by-polls held after 2013 polls reveals that the Congress, after losing five straight by-elections to the BJP, found its foothold in the last two years by winning four out of five by-polls. This trend, if looked at in the bigger context of the mega showdown due on December 11, suggests that the road to power may not be smooth for the BJP.
The state saw two Lok Sabha by-polls post 2014 in which both the BJP and Congress shared one win each. In 2013 assembly polls the BJP, fresh from a resounding win, had successfully wrested the Garoth seat in the by-poll by a margin of over 13,000 votes. But the Congress had rejoiced over the victory margin having been halved.
Then in 2015, BJP MLA Gayatri Raje Puar had won the by-poll from Dewas, riding on the sympathy wave after the demise of her husband Tukoji Rao Puar. The year also gave Congress a reason to cheer as the party’s veteran tribal face Kantilal Bhuria won by a healthy margin of over 88,000 votes from Jhabua-Ratlam Lok Sabha seat.
On his way to victory, Bhuria not only thwarted a sympathy wave for his opponent Nirmala Bhuria — daughter of former MP Dilip Singh Bhuria — but also earned the distinction of handing first-ever defeat to Modi government after a historical win in the 2014 general elections.
The BJP continued to ride high in 2016 and won all three assembly by-polls through Narayan Tripathi in Maihar, Mangal Singh Dhurve in Ghodadongri and Manju Dadu in Nepanagar.
In the same year, party’s win at Shahdol Lok Sabha by-poll emerged as icing on the cake as after its veteran MLA Gyan Singh defeated Congress’ Himadri Singh — daughter of former union minister Dalbir Singh — by a margin of over 60,000 votes. But a ‘greenhorn’ Himadri gave Singh a run for his money, lowering the victory margin of 2.41 lakh (in 2014 Lok Sabha polls) immensely.
But things started to change in 2017 when the Congress tasted its first win since 2013 polls as party’s Hemant Katare registered a nail-biting victory over BJP’s Arvind Bhadauria. Katare won by a mere 857 votes from Ater which was earlier represented by his late father Satyadev Katare.
The BJP, however, pulled things back in order by a by-poll win in Bandhavgarh. But their celebrations were short-lived as Congress’ Neelanshu Chaturvedi led the party to a spirited win in Chitrakoot by the year end in which the young leader, backed by Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh, was pitted against almost the entire BJP state unit.
But the real morale booster for Congress came early this year when the Scindia family scion Jyotiraditya Scindia took on the entire state government led by CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and successfully defended Mungaoli and Kolaras seats in a battle which was widely seen as a precursor to the big fight in the year-end.
This was the big turning point that put an otherwise dormant Congress in a fighting position against an invincible looking BJP and inked the script for a keen battle that was witnessed recently in the state.
The counting of votes and announcement of results for Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Telangana will take place on December 11.
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