Boost For Shivraj Chouhan And Young BJP State Chief With Bypoll Wins


Boost For Shivraj Chouhan And Young BJP State Chief With Bypoll Wins

Shivraj Singh Chouhan said tribals have accepted BJP has done good work


Ending speculation about his replacement, the three-one bypoll win in Madhya Pradesh not only ended up becoming a boost for Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, but also brought to the fore organisational capabilities and winning strategies of young state BJP chief VD Sharma.

The Congress, however, snatched the Raigaon assembly seat in Vindhya region after more than three decades. Kalpana Verma won Raigaon (SC) assembly seat by defeating BJP’s Pratima Bagri by a margin of 12,000 votes. The seat, considered a BJP bastion, was won by the Congress after 31 years.

The BJP levelled up the scores by winning Jobat (ST) and Prithvipur, which were held by the Congress. “It was told to the tribals that BJP is against them. We formed schemes and presented before them. I’m happy that we have evidence of their acceptance in the poll results,” Mr Chouhan said.

Former chief minister and state Congress chief Kamal Nath said the party will analyse the results deeply and introspect. “However, during these bypolls, we fought money power, misuse of administrative and government machinery by the ruling party, yet we managed to win one seat,” Kamal Nath said.

Senior journalist and political observer Girija Shankar said the BJP’s win happened because of the hard work and charisma of Mr Chouhan.

The sheer number of rallies addressed by Mr Chouhan also speaks of the effort that has gone into the bypolls. He addressed 39 rallies between September 29 and October 27, besides 17 rallies in eight assembly segments of Khandwa Lok Sabha constituency.

Kamal Nath addressed 13 rallies between October 12 and October 17. He also hit the campaign trail nearly two weeks after Mr Chouhan did.

Kamal Nath was only confined to addressing a few rallies, but Mr Chouhan followed the rallies with night halts at the houses of BJP workers at five places in the bypoll-bound assembly and parliamentary constituencies.

“His night halt in Jobat (ST) seat, followed by early morning chaupal not only boosted BJP prospects among tribals, but also compelled the BJP workers to shelve their anger. For six days and six nights he stayed with them, not in hotels or rest house,” Girija Shankar said.

He said the Congress is a natural beneficiary of mistakes made by the BJP in context with Raigaon, the only seat won by the Congress. “Selection of candidate is one part of election management. Jugal Kishore Bagri was BJP MLA, but BJP denied ticket to his son,” Mr Shankar said.

The decision by the BJP led to three members from the Bagri family jumping in the fray causing considerable damage to the BJP. Though BJP convinced some members of the Bagri family to withdraw nominations, the damage was already done.

In Jobat (ST), Congress candidate Mahesh Patel blamed some senior Congress leaders for the defeat. “Some Congress leaders have contributed to the party’s defeat. I’ll submit a report about it to state party chief Kamal Nath,” Mr Patel said.

There have been speculation about a possible change of guard in Madhya Pradesh following the results, but now Mr Chouhan and state BJP chief VD Sharma swung the tribal votes in favour of the party. The party had however fielded Sulochana Rawat, who switched sides just before the bypolls.

Prithvipur, again a stronghold of the Congress, was won by the BJP. The seat was represented by former Congress minister Brajendra Singh Rathore, but his son Nitendra could not garner enough sympathy votes.

A rebel from Samajwadi party, Shishupal Yadav, defeated Mr Rathore and snatched the citadel of the Congress for the BJP. The winning margin in Khandwa though has reduced from 2.7 lakh votes to around 80,000.