The ruling BJP on Thursday retained the Ghoradongari assembly seat in Madhya Pradesh, potentially jeopardising the Congress’ prospects in the June 11 Rajya Sabha elections.
For the Congress the loss could turn out to be a big blow for its prospects in the Rajya Sabha polls from the state.
With the entry of state BJP general secretary Vinod Gotia into the fray as an independent candidate, voting has become inevitable provided none of the candidates withdraw their nominations. Victory for the BJP nominees Anil Madhav Dave and MJ Akbar seems to be a foregone conclusion given the strength of the BJP in the assembly.
However, the real contest will be between Gotia and Congress nominee Vivek Tankha.
Gotia needs eight more votes to win an RS seat whereas Tankha needs one more. The Congress has 57 MLAs in the assembly.
There are four BSP MLAs and three independents in the House. Except an independent MLA backing Gotia, others have kept their options open.
Mangal Singh Dhruve, who contested assembly elections for the first time, defeated Congress’ Pratap Singh Uike in the bypolls held on May 30. The seat fell vacant following the death of sitting MLA Sajjan Singh Uikey.
Victory symbolises people’s unflinching faith in BJP’s principles: CM
“The victory symbolises the people’s unflinching faith in the party’s principles and the Central and the state governments’ welfare policies,” chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in a tweet after the party’s victory in Ghodadongri .
The Congress was prompt to dismiss the BJP’s victory as an outcome of the ruling party’s dishonest means to win the election.
“Liquor and money were distributed like anything. When the entire government became dishonest what could have we done?” said state Congress chief Arun Yadav.
Congress accuses BJP of using govt machinery to win bypoll
The Congress sought to play down its defeat at the hands of the BJP in the Ghoradongri by-election by terming it as the victory of government machinery and not the ruling party.
The BJP retained the Ghoradongri (ST) reserved seat in Betul district after its candidate Mangal Singh Dhurve won the by-poll by a margin of more than 13,000 votes.
“Our candidate Pratap Singh Uike was better of the two candidates, but we lost to the government machinery and not the ruling party,” said Bala Bachchan, the officiating leader of opposition in the state assembly.
“I can bet there is strong anti-incumbency feeling among voters against the BJP government, but the power of official machinery ensured that we couldn’t win the poll,” the MLA from Barwani added.
State Congress spokesperson KK Mishra seconded Bachchan’s views. “We won over the BJP, but lost to the state government,” Mishra said.
Mishra alleged that the BJP misused the official machinery to the hilt to win over voters.
“Unaccounted cash totaling Rs 1.5 lakh was recovered from the vehicle of BJP candidate Mangal Singh on the day of polling. Also, the state revenue minister Rampal Singh threw a party for labourers in a village on Harda-Betul border, where he not only asked them to vote for the BJP candidate but Rs 500 was distributed among each of them.We’ve submitted a CD about the two incidents to the election commission and are awaiting action in the matter,” he said.