Ratlam by-poll: BJP’s gamble to win sympathy vote draws blank

  • Rahul Noronha, Bhopal
  • Updated: Nov 24, 2015 21:55 IST
BJP state president Nand Kumar Singh Chauhan talking to media after by-poll results, in Bhopal on Tuesday. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT photo)

Bharatiya Janata Party has for the second time in two years fumbled by following conventional electoral logic that nominating kin of a deceased leader would guarantee victory in a by-poll.

In the Ratlam-Jhabua Lok Sabha by-poll, the BJP had fielded veteran tribal leader Dilip Singh Bhuria’s daughter Nirmala Bhuria, but the Congress candidate bucked any sympathy factor that may be in play to emerge victorious.

In fact, in Dewas too, though late Tukoji Rao Puar’s widow Gayatri Raje won the by-poll, the BJP’s margin that stood at 50,119 votes when Tukoji Rao contested in 2013 came down to 30,778 votes on Tuesday.

In the first assembly by-polls held in August 2014 at Bahoriband after the formation of the 14th Vidhan Sabha, the BJP fielded Pranay Pandey - son of late MLA Prabhat Pandey, whose death had necessitated the by-poll - as the party candidate. However, Pranay Pandey lost to Congress candidate Saurabh Sisodia even though his father had earlier won the seat by a margin of more than 20,000 votes.

In the subsequent by-election held at Garoth assembly segment in 2015, the party did not field a candidate from family of late MLA Rajesh Yadav even though the family had demanded a ticket. Nonetheless, the BJP won the by-polls, defeating veteran Congressman Subhash Sojatia.

However, not learning from previous experience, the BJP decided to field the daughter of late Dilip Singh Bhuria in Ratlam. Despite a possible sympathy factor in play, Congress candidate Kantilal Bhuria bagged 5,36,743 or 50.19% votes to defeat BJP’s Nirmala Bhuria, who bagged 4,47,911 or 41.88% of the votes.

In Dewas too, where Tukoji Rao Puar’s widow Gayatri Raje was given the ticket, the party candidate polled 89,358 votes as against 1,00,660 polled by her husband in the 2013 elections. In fact, the votes secured by Congress candidate in 2013 stood at 50,541 and increased to 58,580 votes this year.

“In certain elections, giving the party nomination to a member of the family of the deceased leader creates an emotional appeal among voters, prompting parties to look for such candidates,” said political analyst Girija Shankar.

However, as the by-poll results have shown this time around, that strategy doesn’t always work.

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