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MP Bypoll: After Lok Sabha Debacle, Cong Veteran Kantilal Bhuria Eyes a Comeback in Tribal Heartland

File photo of senior Congress leader Kantilal Bhuria.

File photo of senior Congress leader Kantilal Bhuria.

As aspirants, both Javier Meda and Bhuria have held rounds of talks with senior functionaries in Bhopal. Sources said the Congress is likely to repose faith in Bhuria and offer Meda a post in one of the boards or corporations.

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Vivek Trivedi

Jhabua: Arguably the most powerful tribal leader of the Congress in Madhya Pradesh since years, Kantilla Bhuria after his defeat in the Lok Sabha election is trying hard to make a comeback in the upcoming Assembly bypoll.

He had lost the 2014 election as well to BJP’s Dilip Singh Bhuria, but a year later, when the latter died, he entered the poll fray again and became a parliamentarian. However, the last two years have been political disappointing for the Bhuria family. First, his son Vikrant Bhuria lost in the 2018 Assembly election from Jhabua.

Popular tribal face Javier Meda, who contested as an Independent, cut into the Congress votes and helped BJP’s Guman Singh Damor win by about 10,000 votes. Besides, nepotism charges were brought against the senior Bhuria for giving tickets to his son, a doctor and political greenhorn, and then his niece, Kalawati, from Jobat.

Soon after his son’s poll debacle, Bhuria persuaded Meda to return to the Congress fold ahead of the Lok Sabha election. However, the ‘Modi-wave’ across the nation ensured that Damor was able to defeat the veteran Congress leader.

After Damor entered the Lok Sabha earlier this month, Jhabua is likely to see a bypoll soon and Bhuria is trying his best to convince the Congress high command for a ticket for himself even as Meda continued to meet party leaders.

As aspirants, both Meda and Bhuria have held rounds of talks with senior functionaries in Bhopal. Sources said the party is likely to repose faith in Bhuria and offer Meda a post in one of the boards or corporations.

From the BJP, former MLA Shantilal Bilwal is the frontrunner for a bypoll ticket. Four-time MLA Nirmala Bhuria may also seek a nomination.

A win in the by-election would only strengthen the Kamal Nath-led government, which is majorly dependent on the support of four Independents, two BSP and a lone Samajwadi Party MLA. While the Congress has 114 legislators, the BJP has 109 MLAs in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly.


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