BHOPAL: The Congress won the twin bypolls against the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday, retaining both Mungaoli and Kolaras in the Gwalior-Chambal region but by a lower margin than in the 2013 Assembly elections.
Congress candidate Brajendra Singh Yadav polled 70,808 votes in Mungaoli, defeating BJP’s Bai Sahab Yadav by 2,123 votes. The party’s 2013 victory margin was over 20,765 votes.
In Kolaras, Mahendra Singh Yadav defeated BJP’s Devendra Jain by 8,083 votes. The 2013 victory margin was 24,954 votes.
Brajendra and Bai Sahab respectively polled 48.15 per cent and 46.70 per cent of the total 1,47,054 votes cast in the February 24 by-election. In 2013, the vote share of the Congress and the BJP in Mungaoli seat of Ashok Nagar district was 50.73 per cent and 35.82 per cent respectively.
In Kolaras seat of Shivpuri district, the Congress’s Mahendra polled 82,515 votes against the BJP’s Jain, who secured 74,432 votes. Of the total 1,72,087 votes polled in Kolaras, Congress won 47.94 per cent — against 45.91 per cent in 2013 — and the BJP polled 43.25 per cent votes, against 30.42 per cent in 2013.
The results are significant because the Congress victory margin in both seats is much lower than 2013 even without the BSP contesting the bypoll. In 2013, the BSP candidate had won 12,081 votes in Mungaoli and 23,920 votes in Kolaras. Experts were expecting the Congress to win big without Mayawati’s party in the fray this time.
The bypolls, necessitated by the deaths of Congress MLAs Mahendra Singh Kalukheda (Mungaoli) and Ram Singh Yadav (Kolaras), were being seen as a semi-final to the year-end Assembly polls in the state. More important, the seats are part of former Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia’s Guna parliamentary constituency.
While Scindia led the campaign in both seats over the last few weeks, the BJP’s high-pitched campaign was led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. In fact, nearly the entire council of ministers canvassed for votes.
Four-time Guna MP Scindia dubbed the victory as that of the common man over dhanbal (money power), bahubal (muscle power) and mantribal (power of council of ministers) of the Chouhan-led government.
Senior Congress leaders claimed the victory margin would have been higher had the official machinery not been misused, voters not been threatened by BJP leaders and money not been spent in abundance by the ruling party.
State BJP chief Nandkumar Singh Chauhan said, “I see a moral win even in defeat. Despite there being no BSP candidate, the Congress managed to win with a very narrow margin. It’s a moral victory for our workers. We’ll ensure that we reverse Wednesday’s results in the year-end Assembly elections.”