Reduced to its lowest-ever tally in Lok Sabha polls in 2014, the Congress rejoiced its victory in the Ratlam by-polls last year, raising the party’s tally in the lower house of Parliament to 45.
The Congress is confident to increase its tally further in the Shahdol by-polls, which has become a big headache for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and if the Congress wins the seat, it will further add to their strength in Lok Sabha.
Another Congress member in Lok Sabha may not change equations for the party and may not affect the BJP’s impact in the lower house, but it will certainly raise a few eyebrows among the BJP’s top leadership.
The Congress nominee for the Ratlam Lok Sabha seat Kantilal Bhuriya won the by-polls in November 2015 despite the chief minister leading the election campaign from the front and at least a dozen of his ministerial colleagues camping in the constituency to mobilize the party workers and woo voters.
Another defeat will cause a major setback for Chouhan’s political image
Congress leaders in Madhya Pradesh feel the party has done well by declaring its candidate for the Shahdol Lok Sabha by-polls ahead of the BJP, but the ruling party does not want to leave any stone unturned to retain the seat as another defeat will cause a major setback for chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s political image. Buoyed by the declaring Himadri Singh as the party’s candidate for the by-polls, the Congress has intensified its election campaign.
CM visited the parliamentary constituency many times in last couple of months
The BJP too has launched its campaign with chief minister Chouhan visiting the parliamentary constituency a number of times in the last couple of months much before the by-polls schedule was announced and addressing public meetings, where he announced development schemes worth hundreds of crores of rupees.
BJP leadership has not been able to find a suitable candidate: Cong
State Congress chief spokesperson KK Mishra, however, said the BJP leadership had not been able to find a suitable candidate for the seat, which showed the party’s standing on a sticky wicket in the run up to the elections. People are fed up with the Centre as well as the state government and wanted a change, he said.
“The BJP government’s anti-people policies will certainly go in favour of the Congress.”
State BJP vice president Vijesh Lunawat said the Congress lost two assembly by-polls after the Ratlam by elections–Maihar and Ghodadongari. “People have trust in the leadership of the chief minister and the Shahdol by-polls.”