Maihar assembly segment in Satna district will go to the polls on February 13 to fill the lone vacant seat in the state assembly, the Election Commission announced on Tuesday.
The by-election was necessitated after incumbent Congress MLA Narayan Tripathi resigned and defected to the BJP in August last year. The results for the by-election would be announced on February 16. With the announcement on Tuesday, the model code of conduct has come into force in Satna district.
The forthcoming by-election has acquired heightened significance after former minister and Churhat MLA Ajay Singh announced that it was a ‘prestige issue’ for him.
Contest poised to become a Shivraj Singh Chouhan versus Ajay Singh battle
The son of former chief minister Arjun Singh and one of the biggest Congress leaders in the Vindhya region, where the segment is located, Ajay Singh has been relentlessly campaigning against Tripathi. Also, with the chief minister not taking any chances after suffering two electoral setbacks — in Ratlam Lok Sabha by poll and losing five of eight urban civic bodies — the contest is poised to become a Shivraj Singh Chouhan versus Ajay Singh battle.
However, the tussle between Ajay Singh and Narayan Tripathi goes back to 2014 when the former had alleged that Tripathi, who was a Congress MLA at the time, had worked against him in the Satna Lok Sabha elections, which Singh ultimately lost by a slender margin. Ajay Singh had blamed Tripathi for his defeat and even demanded his sacking.
Narayan Tripathi expected to be BJP candidate
Tripathi subsequently joined the BJP and resigned from the seat, necessitating the by-poll.
Earlier there was speculation that Tripathi may not be fielded by the BJP to not give fodder to the Congress, but it now seems clear that Tripathi is the party’s choice in Maihar. Prior to leaving for Singapore on Tuesday, CM Chouhan had made half a dozen visits to Maihar with Tripathi, who was seen sharing the dais with him at public functions and press interactions.
Presently the BJP has 165 seats, the Congress 57, the BSP 4 and independents 3 in the 230 member state assembly.
January 20: Notification of polls and beginning of nominations
January 27: Last date for nominations
January 28: Scrutiny of nominations
January 30: Last date for withdrawal of nominations
February 13: Polling
February 16: Counting