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Congress charges into BJP turf in MP

May 17, 2009 18:22 IST

Congress lapped up 12 out of 29 seats in the Bharatiya Janata Party-dominated Madhya Pradesh, and could have added one more to the tally had Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh's daughter not jumped into the fray as an independent.

This is the first gain for the Congress since portions of the state was carved out to form Chhattisgarh in 2000. The party's tally had in 2004 fallen to four, including Chhindwara represented by Kamal Nath and Guna represented by Jyotiraditya Scindia. Besides, it held Jhabua and Gwalior. The rest of the seats had then gone to the BJP.

This time, the party fielded relatively young candidates against the BJP's old-timers, which the Congress believes helped it increase its tally to 12 by wresting Mandsaur, Ujjain, Dewas-Shajapur and Khandwa constituencies from the BJP. BJP also lost Mandla, Hoshangabad, Dhar, Shahdol and Rajgarh.

The tally of Congress could have reached 13, had Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh's daughter not contested the polls from Sidhi constituency as an independent.

Her presence in the fray ensured the defeat of Congress candidate Indrajit Patel from Sidhi as she cornered over 67,000 votes while Govind Mishra (BJP) won the seat with a margin of 45,000 votes. Mishra got 2,70914 votes while Patel polled 22,5174 votes.

The saffron party suffered a jolt in Hoshangabad, where it took the voters for granted despite the fact that Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee President and former Union Minister Suresh Pachouri was making all-out efforts to contest polls from there. BJP lost this seat to Congress even though Pachouri did not contest for it. The saffron party had fielded Rampal Singh, a leader who did not have a clean image.

Besides, the Congress also wrested Dhar, Shahdol and Rajgarh seats from the saffron party. In Rajgarh, All India Congress Committe General Secretary and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh ensured the defeat of his younger brother Laxman Singh, who had switched over to the saffron party just before the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

The tally of Congress could have reached 3, had Arjun Singh's daughter not contested the polls from Sidhi constituency as an Independent candidate. Her presence in the fray ensured the defeat of Congress candidate Indrajit Patel from Sidhi, as she cornered over 67,000 votes while Govind Mishra (BJP) won the seat with a margin of 45,000 votes. Mishra got 2,70914 votes while Patel polled 22,5174 votes.

The Lok Sabha poll results also saw the re-emergence of the Bahujan Samaj Party in the areas bordering Uttar Pradesh, with party candidate Devraj Singh Patel winning the Rewa Lok Sabha seat, defeating senior Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker's son Sunderlal Tiwari.

The BSP won the parliamentary polls after a gap of 13 years in the state. Pachouri gave credit of the party's spectacular performance to party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, and to the hard work put in by the party's workers.

However, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was visibly unhappy with the outcome said, "the results were not on the expected lines and the party will conduct a detailed analysis of its failure."

The BJP's Lok Sabha poll in-charge for Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand, Sushma Swaraj said, "I am stunned with the results. We expected at least 23 seats in Madhya Pradesh. We couldn't see the undercurrent and the results will be analysed comprehensively."

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