BHOPAL: In a major setback to the Shivraj Singh Chauhan government in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress retained its impregnable bastion, the Chitrakoot Assembly seat with an improved margin of over 14,000 votes on Sunday.
The Congress candidate Nilanshu Chaturvedi, in a one-sided contest defeated the ruling BJP nominee Shankardayal Tripathi by a margin of 14,133 votes to win the by-poll. While the Congress candidate polled total 66,810 votes, the losing BJP candidate polled only 52,677 votes.
With the BSP not fielding a candidate this time, the ruling and Opposition party candidates both polled more votes than the 2013 Assembly polls. While the Congress which had polled 45,913 votes in 2013, polled 20,000-plus votes this time securing 66,810 votes, the ruling BJP which had secured 34,943 votes in 2013 battle, secured over 17,000 more votes in the by-poll this time.
The victory margin too increased for Congress in comparison to the 10,900-plus vote victory margin in 2013.
The by-poll which was necessitated by the demise of three-time sitting Congress MLA Prem Singh in May 2017, holds significance as Chitrakoot is a seminal part of the life of Lord Ram, and the BJP had invoked Lord Rama during its campaign for the bypoll.
“This win is special as it is a harbinger of what is bound to happen across Madhya Pradesh in 2018 Assembly polls. BJP has recently coined the slogan abki baar 200-paar (200-plus seats in 2018 polls), but today’s massive win in Chitrakoot has made it clear that they will not be able to cross even 100 seats next year,” said leader of opposition in state assembly Ajay Singh.
The defeat of BJP candidate by heavy margin is a huge setback, particularly to the chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, as he had extensively campaigned in the constituency over last three days ahead of by-poll. Several ministers of his government too had been camping in Chitrakoot seat of Satna district to ensure victory for party, which did not materialise.