Congress wins 9 of 14 seats in Madhya Pradesh civic by-polls

Months ahead of the assembly election scheduled for the end of the year, the Congress won nine of 14 municipal seats in Madhya Pradesh for which by-polls were held, gaining three seats.The ruling BJP won only four and one seat went to an independent, the state election commission announced. The polling for these seats were held on August 3.

The Congress snatched 3 seats from the BJP. The by-polls in the urban bodies were spread across 13 districts in the state, which the Congress said indicated chief minister Shivran Chouhan’s declining popularity. The BJP countered saying the vote did not reflect popularity of the chief minister as the party did not focus on the by-polls.

Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath said: “Congress’ victory in nine wards and also the victory of Congress supported candidates in panchayats has exposed chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s Jan Ashirvad Yatra being taken out on government expenses and also the government for its false claims on development in the state.”

He said it was beginning of the end of the BJP government.

State BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal defended the party saying, “The local bodies by-poll were left to the local leadership as the party was busy with chief minister’s Jan Ashirvad yatra, party workers sammelan and booth level management. But the Congress has won just three seats more than what it had earlier. The fact is such a local level election are fought on local issues and has nothing to do with public mandate in state assembly elections.”

Ahead of the polling the CM’s yatra visited Damoh, Datia, Bhind, Anuppur and Satna districts. BJP candidates won in Damoh, Datia and Anuppur districts, but its its candidate lost in Satna.

Of the nine seats the Congress won, two were in Chhindwara district, the home turf of Kamal Nath. The party’s candidates won one seat each in Nepanagar, Sarvania Maharaj, Dabra, Singrauli, Bairasia, Satna and Raghogarh Vijaypur municipal councils. Dabra falls under Gwalior district, the home turf of Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia and Raghogarh Vijayapur, n Guna district, Scindia’s parliamentary constituency.

Analysts said the by-poll results may not necessarily reflect the people’s mood as they are fought on a much smaller scale and dominated by very local issues.

However, the BJP’s loss months ahead of the polls could be a morale booster for the Congress, which has been out of power in the state for 15 years, they added.

Political analyst Girija Shankar said: “Perception created by results of by-polls is more important than the results. All depends on the political parties as to how they interpret the results and create perception in public ahead of the assembly elections.”

This is fourth straight loss for the BJP in by-polls in the state across municipal bodies and assembly constituencies in the past year.

First Published: Aug 07, 2018 23:53 IST

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