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Madhya Pradesh bypoll battle heats up between Congress, BJP

Bypolls to Mungawali and Kolaras assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh are due on February 24.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2018 23:40 IST
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh bypoll,By-elections in Madhya Pradesh,Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan addresses a public meeting during an election campaign for Kolaras by-election at Ashok Nagar district of Madhya Pradesh on February 15.(PTI File Photo)

Both the Congress and the BJP are engaged in a high pitch campaign for the Mungaoli and Kolaras assembly seats, the last big bye-election before the state goes to polls later this year.

The Congress is upbeat after its recent electoral victories in the state and good performance in neighbouring Gujarat and Rajasthan. The party also won bypolls for the Chitrakoot and Ater seats in the state as well as the civic body elections held about 10 months ago.

The BJP, however, is showcasing the development work carried out by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the party’s return to power in Gujarat in 2017. While Lok Sabha chief whip Jyotiraditya Scindia is leading the charge for the Congress, CM Chouhan is leading his party’s campaign. Most of the ministers in Chouhan’s cabinet and the BJP’s national and state level leaders are crisscrossing both the constituencies.

Political observer Girishankar said, “The CM had a similar style of campaigning with a number of ministers assigned the task in almost every bypoll held so far in Madhya Pradesh. But this tactic boomeranged in Chitrakoot and Ater assembly constituencies and also Ratlam-Jhabua Lok Sabha constituency. The party’s lead in Shahdol Lok Sabha bypoll was considerably reduced to about 50,000. This was because of arrogance of ministers.”

The Congress had won both the assembly seats in the 2013 assembly elections and the BJP wants to win them to send a message that there is no anti-incumbency against the party that has been in power for last 15 years.

Before the polls were announced, the state government announced Rs 1,000 per month for each Saharia tribal family, who are the dominant voters in Shivpuri, and expanded the Cabinet by giving representation to three other backward classes leaders. Mungaoli comes under Ashok Nagar district and Kolaras under Shivpuri district.

First Published: Feb 20, 2018 23:39 IST