Congress' hopes of resurgence in the state were dashed as the party suffered major loss in the civic bodies' polls, after its rout in parliamentary and assembly elections.
The party was expecting a better show in the civic polls, however, the results of 135 urban bodies that were declared on Thursday, suggested a clear verdict in favour of the BJP.
Of the nine municipal corporations in big cities, the Congress couldn't win even one. However, in municipal councils and other municipalities at smaller towns, the Congress did relatively better and won at a few places.
There was hardly any activity at the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) office which remained deserted and just a few leaders were present here during the day, when trends were coming out.
"It is one of the worst performances of the party. Last time too, we didn't do well in civic polls but on this occasion, despite the strong campaign and issues which we had, we couldn’t somehow convince the electorate to vote for us," said a Congress leader on condition of anonymity.
"It is almost like Gujarat now, a state where people are tuned to vote for the BJP. In MP too, we have been consistently losing elections since 2003," he said. "Even in municipalities in districts that are considered fiefdom of big leaders like Rajgarh and Chhindwara, our performance has been bad," he further said.
In all, 280 civic bodies had gone to polls. On Thursday, the results of first phase of elections (of 135 civic bodies) was announced. The results for the remaining civic bodies will be announced two days later, but the indication from Thursday’s results are clearly in BJP’s favour.
Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Arun Yadav couldn’t be contacted despite efforts. PCC office bearers said that a formal statement will be issued on his behalf later in the evening. PCC chief spokesperson KK Mishra said that the results are being analysed.
"Let all the results come. In the nine municipal corporations that went to polls, we may not have done too well, but in municipal councils and other municipalities, we have done better," Mishra said.
"At some places our candidates who fought as Independents won", he added. "Our corparators have won in large numbers at many places", he added.
Poor candidate selection
Poor candidate selection turned out to be a reason of the Congress’ dismal performance, and it was very clear when trends started coming from Thursday morning. In the Rewa municipal corporation, Kavita Pandey who had been denied ticket by the party came second. In fact, Congress’ official candidate Priyanka Tiwari was nowhere in the race.
BJP candidate Mamta Gupta secured over 38,000 votes while Kavita Pandey who fought as an Independent got more than 24,000 votes. Congress’ official candidate Priyanka Tiwari got just 17,000 votes.
Pandey, who was leader of opposition in Rewa municipal corporation, was a clear favourite to get ticket but was surprisingly ignored and Priyanka Tiwari, who had little support and was almost an unknown face, was given ticket.