Madhya Pradesh witnessed a see-saw battle between Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as counting progressed on December 11 for elections to the state Assembly. The lead trends kept alternating between the two political parties ever since counting commenced in the morning. The neck-and-neck fight finally concluded at midnight, with Congress winning 114 seats and the ruling BJP, 109 seats in the 231-member House.
Congress fell two seats short of the majority mark of 116. Of the 231-member Assembly, elections are held in 230 constituencies, as one member is nominated by the Governor.
Newsclick analysed the final results and found that in several constituencies the margins were wafer-thin. In 10 Assembly constituencies where the saffron party was ruling for the past 15 years, the winning or losing margin stood below 1,000 votes.
These seats are – Biaora (where Congress defeated BJP by 826 votes), Bina (where BJP defeated Congress), Damoh (Congress defeated BJP by 798 votes), Gwalior South (Congress defeated BJP by just 121 votes), Suwasra (Congress won over BJP by 350 votes), Jabalpur North (Congress won by 578 votes), Jaora (BJP defeated Congress by 511 votes), Kolaras (BJP won by 720 votes), Rajnagar (Congress defeated BJP by 732 votes) and Rajpur (S.T.) (Congress won by 932 votes).
There are eight seats where the winning margin was between 1,000 and 2,000 votes. These constituencies include Chandla (BJP defeated Congress by 1,177 votes), Gunnour (Congress won by 1,984 votes), Gwalior Rural (BJP defeated Bahujan Samaj Party by 1,517 votes), Indore-5 (BJP won by 1,133 votes), Deotalab ( BJP defeated BSP by 1,080 votes), Mandhata (Congress won by 1,236 votes), Nagod (BJP defeated Congress by 1,234 votes) and Nepanagar (Congress won by 1,264 votes).
On 26 seats, the winning or losing margin was recorded between 2,000 and 5,000 votes.
Several Ministers Taste Humiliating Defeat
Several BJP Ministers faced defeat in these elections, while the Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh of Congress also lost in Churhat.
Former Bajrang Dal national chief and Cabinet Minister Jaibhan Singh Pawaiya lost from Gwalior to Congress candidate Pradhyuman Singh Tomar by 21,044 votes. Women and Child Development Minister Archana Chitnis lost from Burhanpur to Independent candidate Thakur Surendra Singh, while Finance Minister Jayant Malaiyya lost to his Congress rival Rahul Singh in Damoh constituency. Former Agriculture Minister Ramkrishna Kusmaria, who contested as an Independent after he was denied a ticket, also tested a humiliating defeat by securing only 1,133 votes from Damoh constituency.
Revenue Minister Umashankar Gupta lost to Congress’s P C Sharma in Bhopal (South-West). Health Minister Rustam Singh was defeated by Raghuraj Singh Kansana of the Congress in Morena.
Animal Husbandry Minister Antar Singh Arya lost to Congress candidate Gyarsilal Rawat in Sendhwa (ST) constituency. Civil Supplies Minister Omprakash Dhurve lost to Congress candidate Bhoopendra Maravi in Shahpura constituency.
The BJP – sensing anti-incumbency – had denied tickets to half-a-dozen ministers. Forest Minister Gaurishankar Shejwar was replaced by his son Mudit Shejwar in Sanchi (SC) constituency, but he too lost to Congress candidate Prabhuram Choudhary.
Regions That Changed Loyalty
The Congress performed well in Malwa-Nimar -- once considered a BJP stronghold -- Mahakoshal and central MP regions, but its performance in the Vindhya region was disappointing. On the other side, the BJP too lost its might over 50 seats.
Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia’s appears to have impressed voters in Gwalior and the Chambal areas, where his party won 25 seats. In the previous elections, the BJP had won 20 and Congress had got 12 seats.