BHOPAL: In closely-fought contests, opposition Congress today retained the Mungaoli and Kolaras Assembly seats in by-elections in Madhya Pradesh, though with reduced victory margins.
The results are significant for the BJP-ruled state where polls are due later this year.
In Kolaras (in Shivpuri district), Congress candidate Mahendra Singh Yadav defeated the BJP's Devendra Jain by 8,086 votes, an Election Commission (EC) official said.
The Congress candidate got 82,523 votes, while his BJP rival polled 74,437 ballots.
In 2013, Congress had won this seat by a margin of 24,953 votes.
In Mungaoli (Ashok Nagar district), Congress nominee Brajendra Singh Yadav emerged victorious by defeating his BJP rival Bai Sahab Yadav by 2,124 votes.
Brajendra Singh Yadav got 70,808 votes, while the BJP candidate bagged 68,684.
The Congress had won this seat by a margin of 20,765 votes in the 2013 Assembly polls.
The bypolls, held on February 24, were necessitated by the death of Congress MLAs Mahendra Singh Kalukheda (Mungaoli) and Ram Singh Yadav (Kolaras).
Elated over the victory, senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia -- in whose Lok Sabha constituency, Guna, both these seats fell -- tweeted, "I thank people from the bottom of my heart. Congratulations to all on this victory. I will be with you and stand true to your faith in me, forever (sic)."
"It was a victory of people's faith over the money power," he tweeted further.
सभी का दिल की गहराइयों से धन्यवाद। सभी को इस विजय पर बधाई। आगे भी सदैव आपके साथ, आपके विश्वास को कायम रखूंगा।— Jyotiraditya Scindia (@JM_Scindia) February 28, 2018
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ajay Singh said the outcome showed that this was the last year of the BJP's rule in the state.
"The BJP has failed to win two bye-elections, but is claiming that it will win over 200 seats in the year-end Assembly polls. The BJP had pressed the entire cabinet into the campaign and misused power. The results show that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has lost the people's faith," he said, attributing the victory to Scindia's hard work.
State BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan pointed out that the victory margin of the Congress candidates had reduced.
"These were Congress seats, but the BJP's vote share has increased. In Mungaoli, the margin of victory for the Congress has been reduced to about 2,000 votes. In both the seats, the BJP's vote share has increased. The BJP is going to form the government for the fourth successive time (in the state) by winning the next Assembly election," he said.