Chitrakoot bypoll: Congress retains seat in MP, defeats BJP by over 14,000 votes
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Chitrakoot bypoll: Congress retains seat in MP, defeats BJP by over 14,000 votes

Congress candidate Nilanshu Chaturvedi was elected to the Madhya Pradesh assembly from Chitrakoot constituency, defeating the BJP’s Shankar Dayal Tripathi.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2017 22:06 IST
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Chitrakoot,Chitrakoot bypoll,Congress
Madhya Pradesh Congress party workers celebrate the party's victory in Chitrakoot bypoll at party headquarters in Bhopal on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

Congress managed to retain the Chitrakoot assembly seat in a Madhya Pradesh bypoll on Sunday, with party candidate Nilanshu Chaturvedi securing 66,810 votes to defeat his nearest rival – Shankar Dayal Tripathi of the BJP – by a margin of 14,333 votes.

The saffron candidate polled 52,677 votes.

The bypolls to the assembly seat, held on November 9, witnessed a voter turnout of over 65%. The results were declared on Sunday.

The Congress also managed to improve its performance, as compared to the 2013 assembly elections, on this occasion. Its candidate Prem Singh, whose demise necessitated the bypoll, had won the previous electoral contest by a margin of 10,970 votes.

There were 12 candidates, including nine independents, in the fray. Interestingly, NOTA (none of the above) turned out to be the third-highest vote-getter with a count of 2,455.

The BSP, which had garnered 19.55% votes in 2013 assembly elections, didn’t field its candidate in the bypoll. Experts believe this decision went in favour of the Congress.

Chitrakoot has been a Congress bastion, and the BJP managed to emerge victorious (with a low margin of 772 votes) here just once in 2008. Nevertheless, the bypoll assumed significance in view of the Bhavantar Yojna – a first-of-its-kind scheme introduced by the state government for farmers – a couple of months ago. There has been widespread resentment ever since the scheme was launched, with farmers alleging that it has enabled traders to reduce the price of agriculture produce at mandis across the state.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was in Katni to attend an event, tweeted his acceptance of the BJP’s defeat before the results were officially announced. “Chitrakoot upchunav me janata ke nirnay ko shirodharya karta hun. Janmat hi loktantra ka asli aadhar hai (I accept people’s mandate in the Chitrakoot by-poll. Public mandate is the real foundation of democracy),” he said, adding that the party would review the reasons behind its (poor) performance.

The chief minister had addressed over a dozen public meetings prior to the polling in a bid to turn the tide in favour of the BJP.

The ruling party, however, took pains to assert that the development was only a case of the Congress retaining its traditional seat and did not signify any anti-incumbency sentiment or resentment among voters. “There are certain (assembly) seats in the state that traditionally go to the Congress,” said state BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, whose campaign strategy for the bypoll has now come under the scanner.

State Congress president Arun Yadav, on the other hand, hailed the victory as the beginning of the BJP’s end in Madhya Pradesh. “This is a defeat of arrogant, corrupt and dictatorial forces,” he declared.

“It was a result of untiring efforts by party workers. The Congress will ensure the development of the constituency,” said Ajay Singh – leader of the Opposition in the state assembly – who led the party campaign during the bypoll.

Jyotiraditya Scindia, Congress MP and senior Congress leader, also termed the bypoll results as a reflection of the people’s discontent with the Chauhan government. “It is clear from the Chitrakoot victory, which comes after the Ater win, that Madhya Pradesh wants to be rid of the BJP’s misrule,” he said.

First Published: Nov 12, 2017 14:45 IST